Medals and meddling

Canoeist Jess Fox finishes with mixed bag from Slovakia Slalom World Cup round
By Josh Rakic

If world kayak and canoe champion Jess Fox wanted her mettle tested ahead of September’s World Championships she well and truly got it over the weekend in Slovalia, the 21-year-old robbed of gold in the C1 Slalom World Cup final.

In the third contest of the five-event series, Jess entered the weekend in the rankings lead in the C1 and top-10 in the K1. And she desperately wanted to avenge an unlucky result in the kayak event the week before in Poland.

In the early heats she looked to do just that, the pace-setter in both categories and looking sharp as ever before seemingly dominating the respective kayak and canoe finals only to suffer heart-breaking 50-second penalties in each.

She was in the lead in the K1 final before bad luck struck, Jess finding trouble in the swirling water at Gate 14, pulling a reverse manoeuvre and grazing the outside pole. The judges called an immediate 50 second penalty over the loud speaker, resulting in Jess dropping from princess to pauper - first to ninth.

In the canoe final a day earlier however, Jess was all but awarded gold with two paddlers to go before a protest saw a near certain victory stripped from her. Rivals claimed she didn’t just come into contact with Gate 19 but failed to cross it completely and she was consequently handed a 50-second penalty. It resulted in Jess placing eighth overall.
But as you’d expect, the Penrith product found some positives from the experience.

“Obviously I was disappointed with the outcome of the C1 first and had to swallow that and move on, which I did,” Jess told Canoeing Australia.
“I was fired up for the K1, ready to race and went out hard - which I am happy about. I misjudged Gate 14 a little and got into trouble, then I was distracted by the speaker saying I had a 50 second penalty - which distracted me a little over the final third of my run. But no excuses, there’s a lesson to learn right there. Stay focused!”

But there was a saving grace in the teams event at least, Jess competing with her 17-year-old sister Noemie for the first time and the pair standing on the podium with bronze together. It was Noemie’s senior debut. Jess now has a month to prepare for the fourth of five World Cup event in Spain on August 7 and hasn’t given up hope of returning to the top of the rankings.

Overall, I am happy I hit form for the first World Cup in Prague and that is a positive thing for me to build on for the next round of World Cups and the World Championships.

“Even if last week and this weekend were not as good as I’d hoped for.
“There’s still a long way to go in the season and I am looking forward to some solid training in Augsburg and Germany over the next couple of weekend and then the next round of World Cups in the month’s time.”

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