JUNIOR SLALOM EUROPEANS 2015
A long summer of training and travelling all to prepare for the junior slalom Europeans 2015. The euros were held in Krakow, Poland which I had previously visited when I went out there with the English squad in order to get some training and race at the teen cup. In the teen cup race I raced solidly finishing 15th on the Saturday and 8th on the Sunday which gave me confidence leading up to the Europeans.
I headed out with the GB team a few days before racing in order to get some training in. The race was set across 4 days with my qualification runs being on Thursday and then semis, finals and teams on the Saturday. The new format for racing for qualifications means that after first runs the top 20 would go straight through to the semis and then the remaining paddlers would have to do a second run to race for the top 10 spots to go through to the semis. The course was set and it was going to be a tough one with a technical move on the last section of the course. I knew I had to put down a good run with so many good paddlers in order to make the top 20.
Unfortunately my first run didn’t go quite as I planned, a solid top section showed as I was at the pace I needed to be however a silly touch in the middle section and dropping low in the last up meant I slipped down the leader board to 23rd just missing out on that top 20 place which meant I would being doing my second run. My second run I knew I just had to put down a solid run and keep it clean. Once again a solid top section and even the middle section I held together pretty well, unfortunately the bottom section I let slip again, not much of a time loss but a really silly touch on one of the last gates cost me as I finished in 12th place on second runs. After looking at results I discovered I had picked up a second touch on my run which I had not realised but after looking at video I discovered I had very slightly brushed one of the gates which cost me a semi-final.
This meant my individual racing was done and all that was left was the team run. The team run is where 3 paddlers race down the course with the same rules as a normal race. We put down a solid run and at the bottom of the course we went straight into first place with a few teams left to go. However we had picked up one touch on the way down which the judges had not added straight away and after all the teams had gone down we were sat in the gold medal position. Unfortunately a protest against us meant that the touch was added on and we were knocked down to third. After a few protests were entered and we were knocked round between 3rd and 4th we were happy to end up taking home the bronze medal!
A great race and a great experience, hopefully the first of many medals.