Mallory Franklin got her 2022 international campaign off to a successful start, winning the K1 bronze medal at the European Canoe Slalom Championships.
Taking on the technical course in Liptovsky Mikulas, Slovakia, Mallory put down a clean run in the semi-finals to go through to the final ranked second.
With the early pace being set by home-paddler Eliska Mintalova in the final, Mallory got off to a blistering start and was up by 0.80 seconds at the first time check.
A touch on gate nine however knocked her slightly off her rhythm and a tough mid-section which caught out the majority of the field, meant Mallory was three second off the pace at the bottom section of the course.
But the 2019 silver medallist dug deep to put down the second fastest run of the day, in 110.29. With just one athlete left to race, Mallory was guaranteed a medal.
She had to wait just 107.24 seconds to find out which one as Italy’s Stefanie Horn equalled the time of Mintalova meaning they shared an unprecedented gold medal with Mallory taking the bronze.
In what has been an eventful week already for Mallory, having taken a knock to the face on her way to K1 team silver, she was delighted with her second medal of the competition, with the extreme slalom and C1 still to go on Sunday.
She said: “I definitely didn’t feel like I didn’t put down my best run. I started well but didn’t finish as I would have liked to have done but to still be able to do a medal winning run is cool.
“I’ve had a really good winter training and it’s great to be able to deliver internationally which will really get my confidence up.
“I haven’t raced much in the kayak over the past year, focusing on the C1 in the run up to Tokyo but I’ve had a really good winter training and it’s great to be able to deliver internationally which will really get my confidence up.
“The extreme slalom will be tough, with the field being cut to just 15 but I’m just going to go out and enjoy it.
“It’s now a long schedule for me now and getting longer but I’m looking forward to the C1, I just want to hold my form, be consistent and deliver good races tomorrow.”
It was an agonising wait for Stafford & Stone’s Joe Clarke in the men’s K1 final. Having been seventh off, Joe showed his trademark speed and strength to go almost three seconds faster at the first time check, which he maintained at the second after a solid mid-section of the course.
While an unfortunate touch on gate 25 cost Joe a two-second time penalty, he still put down the fastest run and then faced a nervous wait as the second half of the 15-strong field were still to go.
Joe was still in contention with just three racers left, but it wasn’t to be for the 2021 Extreme Slalom World Champion, as he was overtaken by Jiri Prskavec (CZE), Giovanni De Gennero of Italy and Austrian Felix Oschmautz who took gold, silver and bronze respectively with Joe eventually finishing in fourth place in 99.61, just 0.16 off the bronze.
Earlier in the day, Chris Bowers(Stafford & Stone) had a good start in his semi-final run but an error at the bottom of the course meant he lost some time then he too faced a lengthy wait to see if he had done enough to qualify for the finals. With just one paddler left to go, Chris was still in contention in 15th place but sadly he was bumped back to 16th and just missed out by 0.41 seconds, finishing in 102.06.
CR Cats’ Bradley Forbes-Cryans was just off the pace at the first time check and he too got caught in the tricky mid-section. He also picked up a late touch to cross the line in 23rd place overall in 105.50.
All six of the British K1 paddlers raced in the time trials of the Extreme Slalom, which will be used to rank the top 16 paddlers who will progress into tomorrow’s finals.
With the discipline making its Olympic debut in Paris 2024, both Kimberley Woods and Mallory Franklin put their markers down in the women’s event with Kimberley putting down the fastest time of the day in 39.12 followed by Mallory in second place in 39.37.
The Tokyo Olympians were joined by Megan Hamer-Evans who is racing her first senior season. The Welsh paddler finished the time-trial ranked 20th in a time of 43.20.
There was drama in the men’s event with deliberations taking place long after the conclusion of the racing. In the men’s event, reigning World Champion Joe Clarke was sixth fastest in 36.48 and he will be joined by Bradley Forbes-Cryans who ultimately finished in 11th in 37.09.
Chris Bowers was just outside the top 16 unfortunately, finishing in 23rd overall.in 38.74.
The racing continues tomorrow morning with the semi-finals and finals of the C1 women and men, followed by the Extreme Slalom Finals.
You can follow the results live here: https://siwidata.com/canoelive/#/live/eca/2017
And watch the racing live on here: https://olympics.com/en/sport-events/2022-eca-canoe-european-slalom-championships-liptovsky-mikuias/
DAY 3 RESULTS SUMMARY
Women’s K1 Final
Mallory Franklin (Windsor & District) – Bronze medal
Men’s K1 Final
Joe Clarke MBE (Stafford & Stone) – 4th
Chris Bowers (Stafford & Stone) – 16th
Bradley Forbes-Cryans (CR Cats) – 23rd overall
Extreme Slalom Time Trials
Kimberley Woods – 1st – progresses to finals
Mallory Franklin – 2nd – progresses to finals
Megan Hamer-Evans – 20th overall
Joe Clarke MBE – 6th – progresses to finals
Bradley Forbes-Cryans – 11th progresses to finals
Chris Bowers – 23rd overall.