Welsh paddlers make big gains at European Junior Cup

European Canoe Association Junior Cup 2017

Canoe Wales paddlers attended the second and third set of ECA junior cup slalom races at Flattach in Austria and Augsburg in Germany in late June and on the first weekend in July. A Welsh team had been entered for the first set of races in Brittany in February, but unfortunately the organisers had cancelled these due to a lack of water at the sites in Roches des Diables, Lochrist and Lannion. With the timetabling of the summer races close to exams, a small group of Welsh paddlers arrived at Flattach in late June, with the first taste of this dam fed course being in competition. The fast flows and waves provided a stern test, with Emily Davies and Jess Rayner acquitting themselves place in the final (the second of two runs). The course was re set for a Wednesday race, while paddlers took the opportunity to play on the waves and stoppers below the competition course.

The Wednesday race saw a lower water release, due to limitations of the Hydro Electric Power reservoir upstream. The paddlers found their feet on the second day of racing with Lili Bryant 3rd and Jess Rayner 5th in the Junior 16 K1Women category, Emily Davies taking the win in the C1Women U23 category (in a class of her own on both days) and Fin Yates Jones finishing 22nd in the final, with a marginal 50 second penalty on the penultimate gate of the course.

On the Thursday, the team travelled to Augsburg for some training on the 1972 Olympic course on the Eiskanal. The narrow, fast flowing concrete channel provided the venue for the largest race entry of the series so far, with 400 paddlers from 18 countries in attendance. Fin Yates Jones raced hard on both days, but the cut of 30 for the final from 80 entries was always going to be tough. In the women’s event final – Lili  placed 4th on the Saturday and 8th on the Sunday, while Jess Rayner placed 8th on the Saturday and 20th on the Sunday. It was good to see a host of UK paddlers in attendance while there were many familiar names  on the start list, with sons, daughters and cousins take up the challenge in a new generation of canoe slalom. One to look out for in the future will be Evy Leifbarth of the USA. The ECA junior cup series will resume in late July in Krakow

On the same weekend, Welsh paddlers were also in attendance at the Bratislava World Ranking Series race, with Gabi Ridge, Megan Hamer Evans, Eti Chappell and Tom Abbott preparing themselves for the World U23 and Under 18 championships to be held in late July. All four boats qualified for the semi- finals in a race that many International teams were using as preparation for the championships. In turn, the demanding course which falls 12 metres over it’s length of 300 metres and the depth of the competition field acts as a good indicator for performances. Junior 18 racer, Megan Hamer Evans narrowly missed out on the senior final, placing 13th, while Eti Chappell (a junior 16 racer) placed 23rd in the senior semi-final. Tom Abbott gained a 50 in the semi-final to halt his progression, while Gabi Ridge, recorded a personal best at International competition, placing 7th in the K1Women event, underpinned with a 4th place in the qualification race and semi final. The racing and training opportunities will give all the boats confidence for the upcoming championships.

Next weekend, Mezzana (site of the 1993 slalom World championships) plays host to its first International slalom race for 20 years, where there will be 6 Welsh paddlers in attendance – Rhys Daves, Will Coney and Emily Davies in C1 and Lili Bryant, Jess Rayner and Fin Yates Jones in kayak.  in late June and on the first weekend in July. A Welsh team had been entered for the first set of races in Brittany in February, but unfortunately the organisers had cancelled these due to a lack of water at the sites in Roches des Diables, Lochrist and Lannion. With the timetabling of the summer races close to exams, a small group of Welsh paddlers arrived at Flattach in late June, with the first taste of this dam fed course being in competition. The fast flows and waves provided a stern test, with Emily Davies and Jess Rayner acquitting themselves place in the final (the second of two runs). The course was re set for a Wednesday race, while paddlers took the opportunity to play on the waves and stoppers below the competition course.

 

The Wednesday race saw a lower water release, due to limitations of the Hydro Electric Power reservoir upstream. The paddlers found their feet on the second day of racing with Lili Bryant 3rd and Jess Rayner 5th in the Junior 16 K1Women category, Emily Davies taking the win in the C1Women U23 category (in a class of her own on both days) and Fin Yates Jones finishing 22nd in the final, with a marginal 50 second penalty on the penultimate gate of the course.

On the Thursday, the team travelled to Augsburg for some training on the 1972 Olympic course on the Eiskanal. The narrow, fast flowing concrete channel provided the venue for the largest race entry of the series so far, with 400 paddlers from 18 countries in attendance. Fin Yates Jones raced hard on both days, but the cut of 30 for the final from 80 entries was always going to be tough. In the women’s event final – Lili  placed 4th on the Saturday and 8th on the Sunday, while Jess Rayner placed 8th on the Saturday and 20th on the Sunday. It was good to see a host of UK paddlers in attendance while there were many familiar names  on the start list, with sons, daughters and cousins take up the challenge in a new generation of canoe slalom. One to look out for in the future will be Evy Leifbarth of the USA. The ECA junior cup series will resume in late July in Krakow

On the same weekend, Welsh paddlers were also in attendance at the Bratislava World Ranking Series race, with Gabi Ridge, Megan Hamer Evans, Eti Chappell and Tom Abbott preparing themselves for the World U23 and Under 18 championships to be held in late July. All four boats qualified for the semi- finals in a race that many International teams were using as preparation for the championships. In turn, the demanding course which falls 12 metres over it’s length of 300 metres and the depth of the competition field acts as a good indicator for performances. Junior 18 racer, Megan Hamer Evans narrowly missed out on the senior final, placing 13th, while Eti Chappell (a junior 16 racer) placed 23rd in the senior semi-final. Tom Abbott gained a 50 in the semi-final to halt his progression, while Gabi Ridge, recorded a personal best at International competition, placing 7th in the K1Women event, underpinned with a 4th place in the qualification race and semi final. The racing and training opportunities will give all the boats confidence for the upcoming championships.

Next weekend, Mezzana (site of the 1993 slalom World championships) plays host to its first International slalom race for 20 years, where there will be 6 Welsh paddlers in attendance – Rhys Daves, Will Coney and Emily Davies in C1 and Lili Bryant, Jess Rayner and Fin Yates Jones in kayak. 

5 July 2017