World Championships update six: Finals day...
So after all of the fuss and commotion over flooding fears no epic high flows ever came, if anything by saturday the level was optimal for a day of finals. First up was squirt which we watched with baited breath as Jamie Austen (GBR) was pipped at the post by young Dane Jackson of the USA (his name is going to come up alot by the way). A fantastic show by all of the athletes in this class all with great high scoring rides really showcasing the variety of tricks that a squirt boat can do. This was followed by the Women’s Squirt where Claire O’hara (GBR) smashed the competition under the water to come in first place. Despite the early morning start these events still drew a healthy crowd and was broadcast on the live-stream all over the world.
After a short break the competition went onto C1 and OC1 and although there were no British athletes in these categories they were still great to watch and the German crowd were really rooting for their athletes with some of the loudest supporters of the whole competition. Dne JAckson took home the gold in C1 and bronze in OC1. These events were proceeded by the Junior competition where Team GB had two athletes in both Mens and Women’s, needless to say by this point in the day the crowd had grown again and the atmosphere was getting more and more tense. Gabby Bates and Kim Aldred both paddled really well with Gabby achieving the Bronze medal. Then in the Junior mens strong performances by both Bren Orton and James Benns saw Bren take home the bronze medal, unluckily both were beaten by none other than Dane Jackson.
Final events for the day were Senior Ladies and Senior Men. Ladies were first and All of the Brits were gathered near the water’s edge to cheer on Claire o’Hara and see if she could make a good day even better by taking home a second medal. After a shaky start her second ride scored numerous high scoring tricks and monster loop (and somehow she stayed in after three power flips).
Finally the last event and the one which drew the biggest crowd, Mens k1. Representing GB was James ‘Pringle’ Bebbington, but the finals were a broad mix of nationalities this year with Stephen Wright from the USA, Nick Troutman from Canada, Gerd Serrasolas from Spain and Peter Csonka from Slovakia. All of the British team had gathered at the water’s edge and waited with baited breath to see Pringle’s first ride, the atmosphere was so tense as we all knew how hard Pringle had been working for this competition and how narrowly he had missed out on European Championships the year before to Csonka. His first ride was strong but so was Peter Csonka’s and Pringle went into third place going into the second rides. We cheered harder than ever during his second ride and saw more of the Pringle trademark precision, landing one trick after another even looking like he would stall out on a Phonics Monkey and then throwing it back threw where others would have flushed out. This took Pringle into first place with an impressive score of 1020 (I think), but still Peter Csonka looked so close. Pringle was up first for a third ride and again a new high score, 1050, but there were still four others to go. The atmosphere was so tense as each competitor went, then there scores were calculated and read out. One down and Pringle still in the lead. Two down. Three down and still in the lead and now only Peter Csonka to go. Team GB practically had its hand in its mouth as Peter Csonka threw down a huge final ride and afterwards we all looked on nervously as the finals scores were calculated. Had Pringle done enough or had Csonka beaten him? So many anxious faces in the crowd. Bronze medal is read out, Stephen Wright. Tense wait. Silver medal is read out, Peter Csonka. The Crowd goes wild Pringle had done it won the Gold, the new world Champion and we were so happy, there were tears in the eyes of many especially those who knew Pringle and knew how badly he and wanted it. Team GB celebrated in the traditional way, a big team hug and then pull of his spray deck and push him in the water. So much emotion that day, happiness from every British face.
The closing ceremony was kept short and sweet but what an atmosphere, medals were awarded and then the party kicked off. What an event, unreal.
A more full wrap up next week I think.
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