2022 ICF Oceania Canoe Slalom Championship 11 medal haul

Posted on January 31, 2022 by

The 2022 ICF Oceania Canoe Slalom Championships were held over the weekend at Penrith Whitewater Stadium, and saw an action-packed three days of competition and NSW Institute of Sport take home 11 medals from their respective disciplines.

Off a stellar 2021 season which saw her earn Olympic gold and bronze medals, a world championship crown in the Extreme Slalom, which will make its’ debut at the Paris 2024 Games, and earned her the 2021 NSWIS Awards, Female Athlete of the year alongside Paralympian Madi De Rozario, Jessica Fox headlined the action.

Competing on home soil for the first time in almost 12 months and her first events for the new year, Jess continued her golden form to take out the women’s kayak final (K1) followed closely by sister Noemie Fox who placed second.

“It’s good to be back racing, it’s a bit sad that we don’t have any internationals here this year, or even our neighbours from New Zealand,” Fox said.

“So it doesn’t really feel like an international race, but it’s always good to get on the start line and practice like it is, and push yourself to get into that mindset again.

“The course was quite challenging, very physically demanding, and quite long, so I was exhausted by the end, but I’m happy I was able to get the win,” she said.

Tokyo teammate and dual Olympian, Lucien Delfour was the standout in the men’s field, taking out the K1 gold. He was joined on the podium by fellow Team NSWIS’ Timothy Anderson (third)

Sophie Wilson and Angus Thompson also contested the K1, earning fifth and eighth respectively.

The canoe gold (c1) was the second medal of the weekend for Jess, earned on her second day of racing. Despite having raced both days, Jess said the course was just as physically demanding in the canoe.

“It was just as long as physically challenging as it was in the kayak, but it felt better today for me in C1, especially that second run, I felt like I had really good water,” she said.

“I was able to attack the course a bit more, but it was still just as hard on the body.

“I think the main thing for me reflecting on the weekend so far is how great it has been to be back racing. Taking each race as experience, and this is a selection event for us so there’s always that element of expectation and pressure.

“My goal was just to have good runs, try and challenge myself and really try to challenge the boys as well to try and get closer in time to them,” she said.

Sophie Wilson equalled her first day of racing, earning a fifth-place finish in the C1, while Kaylen Bassett and Lachlan Basset earned the men’s podium with silver and bronze.

Rounding out the competition was the home soil debut of the new Olympic discipline Extreme Canoe Slalom.

With a new ramp installed shortly before the Oceania Championships, athletes were ready to start building their experience in the discipline which is set to join the Olympic programme in Paris 2024.

“It’s good to race extreme slalom as well, we’ve got a ramp here in Penrith now which is extremely helpful,” Jess said of the new championship discipline.

“It’s a new event, so we’ve got to get as much experience in as possible because there’s so much strategy involved.

“It’s all about learning as you go and learning to be adaptable. It’s very different to a normal slalom, but I’m looking forward to it,” she said.

In a hotly contested women’s field, Noemie managed to upset current Extreme Canoe Slalom World Champion and older sister Jess to win the gold.

“It feels pretty good to get the win – this is the first extreme race I’ve done since the World Championships last year,” Noemie said.

“It’s always fun to be able to race this event, especially against the current world champion in Jess.

“Extreme is one of those disciplines where the more practice you get, the more confident you get, and I’m excited to get even more experience in this type of racing,” she said.

With a silver medal in both the women’s canoe and kayak finals and gold in the extreme, Noemie said she was proud of her results this weekend.

“I’m pretty happy with my runs, but there’s a few improvements I need to make to close that gap to Jess,” she said.

“But it’s good to be racing, and it’s always cool to race in our own backyard at Penrith Whitewater Stadium.

“We certainly missed our Oceania friends this weekend, but we’re looking forward to welcoming them back hopefully very soon.

“I’d also just like to thank all the volunteers who braved the heat this weekend to help put on this event, and give us the opportunity to race.

“We are very grateful for your support, and without you, events like this wouldn’t be possible,” she said.

In an NSWIS blitz, Noemie topped the podium while Jess took silver and Sophie earned third. In the men’s division, Tim Anderson finished in first place to take the gold.

For full results from the 2022 ICF Oceania Canoe Slalom Championships, see here.

Racing will return to Penrith Whitewater Stadium in just over three weeks’ time for the 2022 Canoe Slalom Australian Open which will run from 24 – 27 February.

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