Women’s K1 team claim silver on day one of slalom European Champs

Britain was amongst the medals on day one of the 2022 ECA Canoe Slalom European Championships in Liptovsky, Slovakia with the women’s K1 team claiming silver to get the competition off to a good start.

The first day of competition featured the kayak team finals and the individual heats, with six of the British team in action at the course in Slovakia.

The British trio were the last to go down during the women’s team final and the newly formed team of Mallory Franklin (Windsor & District), Kimberley Woods (Rugby) and Megan Hamer-Evans (Seren Dwr) who was making her international senior debut today, posted a strong run to take second place, with two touches in a time of 118.64.

The men’s trio of Joe Clarke MBE (Stafford and Stone), Bradley Forbes-Cryans (CR Cats) and Chris Bowers (Stafford and Stone) finished tenth in their K1 team final. After a fantastic start and fastest on both splits, unfortunately they had four touches towards the bottom end of the course put them out of contention with a final time of 109.37.

It was a clean sweep of British athletes who progressed through in the men’s K1 semi-finals, with Joe Clarke, Bradley Forbes-Cryans and Chris Bowers all booking their spots for the next stage on Saturday.

Coming into the 2022 season off the back a number of international medals in 2021, including the Extreme Slalom World Championships title, Joe Clarke continued to display his trademark power and speed as he eased through to the semi-finals, qualifying through in 3rd place.

An impressive middle section of the course put the Rio 2016 Olympic Champion quickest on the second split, and he kept the remainder of his run clean and Joe posted a time of 87.55 to secure his spot.

Fresh from his Tokyo 2020 performances in which he came sixth, Bradley Forbes-Cryans also secured his place on Saturday at first attempt.

Putting down a fast first section of the course, the Scottish paddler also posted a clean run to qualify through in 12th position with a time of 90.54.

Chris Bowers made it three from three for the British team after progressing during the second run in second place.

Finishing 30th on his first attempt, the 2021 U23 World and European bronze medallist took what he learnt from his earlier run to storm down the course with a clean run in 89.97 to join Joe and Bradley in the next stage.

In the women’s individual heats, Mallory led the way in the women’s kayak, storming through to the semi-finals after an impressive performance saw her top the leaderboard in first place, to qualify with ease.

Coming into the competition off the back of a successful 2021 season, claiming C1 Olympic and World Championship silver medals, Mallory showed her intent early in the K1 with precision and pace to go clean. She posted a time of 95.68, nearly a second quicker than Poland’s Klaudia Zwolinska in second, and will be last out of the start pool in Saturday’s semi-final.

It wasn’t to be, however, for British teammates Tokyo 2020 Olympian Kimberley Woods and senior debutant Megan Hamer-Evans, with the pair both narrowly missing out on semi-final places.

With the top 15 progressing through to semi-finals, three touches on gates 12, 19 and 20 put Kimberley down in the 23rd place in a time of 104.81, meaning the Rugby paddler needed the second run.

A strong start in round two saw Kimberley up at the first two splits and in strong contention for the top five required, but the front of her boat clipped gate 17, meaning the 2021 World Championship bronze medallist finished just outside of qualification.

Kimberley will be back in action tomorrow and she takes on the women’s C1 heats.

Taking on her first ever senior World Championships, Megan Hamer-Evans was incredibly close to progressing to the semi-finals after an impressive first run, crossing the line in 102.07.

It wasn’t to be for the Welsh paddler, however, as she ultimately finished 16th after the first round and had to go again for one of the remaining five places.

Again her raw time was quick in the second run, but two early touches on gates 1 and 2 meant Megan had to make up time, which she did on the back end of the course, but sadly it was only enough to finish 8th in 105.59.

Megan will next compete on Sunday as the new Olympic event extreme slalom comes to Slovakia.

Tomorrow sees the turn of the canoe athletes*, with individual heats getting us underway before teams finals returning once again in the afternoon.

*Mallory took a knock to the face during the women’s K1 team run and was taken to hospital following the conclusion of competition to be checked over as a precaution. The x-ray came back all clear and Mallory will be kept under observation overnight.


Women’s K1 Team Final – silver medal

Men’s K1 Team Final – 10th place

Women’s K1 Heats

Mallory Franklin (Windsor & District) Heats 1st run  – 1st & progresses to semi-final on Saturday

Kimberley Woods (Rugby) – Heats 1st Run 23rd; 2nd run 6th.

Megan Hamer-Evans (Seren Dwr) – Heats 1st Run 16th; 2nd run 8th.

Men’s K1 Heats

Joe Clarke (Stafford & Stone) – Heats 1st Run 3rd & progresses for semi-final on Saturday

Bradley Forbes-Cryans (CR Cats) – Heats 1st Run 12th and progresses for semi-final on Saturday

Chris Bowers (Stafford & Stone) – Heats 1st Run 30th ; Heats 2nd run 2nd and progresses for semi final on Saturday