ECA JUNIOR AND UNDER-23 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS – ČUNOVO, BRATISLAVA – 20-23 JULY 2023
Sports luck was not on the side of the home kayakers at the European Junior and U23 Championships in Cunovo. Under-23 kayaker Zuzana Paňková and Richard Rumanský in junior kayak finished one place behind the medal in fourth place.
Go Big or Go Home by Paňková
Not much was missing and Zuzana Paňková could enjoy the gold. One small goal shuffle meant two penalty seconds and exactly one tenth away from bronze. „I’m sorry about that knock. It could have been gold. But I’m happy with my first performance in the U23 category,“ Zuzana said. „I got floored in the 18th and I wanted to make up for it and there was a goal touch mistake. I went for the ‚Go Big or go home‘ wicket so I wanted to give it everything,“ explained Pankova about the mistake on the track.
Slovakia was represented three times in the U23 kayak category. Sonia Stanovska paddled in the final and finished seventh, while Ivana Chlebova paddled in eighth place.
Stanovská woke up for the final day with pain, which obviously affected her performance. „I didn’t feel well since the morning and I was happy that I did the semi-final heat at all. It got a bit better between heats but the feeling on the water was not good at all. I tried to do my best to improve for the final, but the penalty seconds for touching the gates put me out of the medal positions,“ Sonia explained.
Ivana Chlebova finished ninth at the European U23 Championships in České Budějovice last year. She improved her result by one place on home water. The pupil of Petr Mraz, who was also the coach of two-time Olympic champion Elena Kaliska, is behind Ivana’s progress on the water. „I’m happy with the ride. I didn’t make any fatal mistakes. Fatigue came in the bottom passage, which cost me one touch and a better position. I improved my result from last year, so I’m happy.“ Ivana was also helped by the support of the home crowd. „It was a great experience to be able to represent Slovakia in my home environment on the water I am confident and enjoy,“ explained Chlebova.
The Czech duo Lucie Nesnídalová won ahead of her compatriot Antonia Galušková. Lea Nováková from Slovenia finished third.
Rumansky left his medal in Niagara
The juniors wanted a medal. Jakub Ševčík and Richard Rumanský were the two who advanced to the final.Rumanský defended the bronze medal and did not hide his disappointment after finishing. Although many favourites were behind him, Rumanský was left with an unpopular fourth place. „I am very sorry. I left the medal in the last jump in Niagara,“ Richard Rumanský started his evaluation. „I felt good during the run and I knew it was fast. But I almost jumped into the last jump and I got pulled very low under the opposite gate.“
Jakub Ševčík was paddling at an international event for the first time . „I gave everything to the ride. I’m happy with the final heat and it’s seventh place, which I can be satisfied with.“
France’s Martin Cornu enjoyed the junior gold, with Italy’s Xabier Ferazzi paddling to second place and Ziga Lin Hočevar of Slovenia finishing third.
Kayaking final of Filip Stanek
In the final of kayakers under 23 years we had Slovakia represented by Filip Stanek. A clean final run was enough for him to take 11th place. Compared to the semi-final he improved his position by two places. „I had a good time, I enjoyed it and I am glad that I had the opportunity to start in the final,“ said Filip Stanko. „I’m happy with the final run. Although there were small mistakes, but the competition is big in this category and I am happy with the eleventh place. I think I lost probably the most on the top. I tried to push it to the end, but I only made it to the 11th place,“ said Filip Stanko.
Other Slovak kayakers did not make it out of the semi-finals. Ilya Buran finished 17th and Matej Blaščik in 28th place.
The gold was defended by Jakub Krejčí, who eventually finished second behind Spain’s Miquel Trave, who also won with a touch of the gate. Frenchman Leo Vuitton finished in third place.
Junior female kayakers without a final
In the junior women’s kayak, not a single Slovak woman managed to advance from the semi-finals to the final. The best finisher was Stanislava Ďuratná from Žilina in 18th place: „I was determined before the start. I was aware of the seriousness of the race, the competition and I was under quite a lot of pressure, which paid off and I missed the gate,“ said Stanislava Ďuratná, who will also compete in Sunday’s canoe semi-final. Paulina Pirro of Germany won, with Olga Samkova of the Czech Republic second and Charlotte Wild of Germany third.
Sunday’s programme of the European Junior and U23 Canoe Championships in Cunovo will culminate with the canoe finals and we will get to know the winners in the new Olympic discipline of kayak cross from 15:30.
results: Full results: https://siwidata.com/canoelive/#/live/eca/2291