Australia’s paddling star and world’s most successful female canoe slalom paddler of all time Jessica Fox (NSWIS) has wrapped up the 2019 canoe slalom world titles with one team gold and two individual silver medals after finishing second in the women’s C1 on Sunday. Fox also secured Australia another Tokyo 2020 quota spot in the process.
Already on Saturday, Fox won silver in the women’s K1, the boat class she also secured Australia a quota spot in earlier in the week. On Wednesday last week, Fox, sister Noemie Fox (NSWIS) and Rosalyn Lawrence (NSWIS) combined their forces to win a team gold in the women’s C1 bringing Australia’s medal tally at the ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships at La Seu d’Urgell, Spain to three.
Fellow Rio Olympian and NSWIS paddler, Lucien Delfour made it three quota spots for Australia when he qualified for the men’s K1 final on Sunday where he finished eight. Australia will have another chance to secure the fourth Olympic spot in the men’s C1 event at the Oceania championships in February.
Subject to final nomination and selection, women’s K1 and C1 world number one Jessica Fox looks set to aim for double Olympic glory at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games next year following the conclusion of the world titles in Spain.
Winning two podium spots in La Seu, Jessica Fox satisfied the early nomination requirements to gain selection for Tokyo 2020. Based on the early nomination criteria her world cup wins in both the women’s K1 and C1 at the world cup final in Prague a couple of weeks ago as well as the two podium spots in La Seu count towards early nomination.
“It’s a huge relief. I’m feeling great joy and great pride to project myself now into the Olympic team and to say that I will represent Australia again is amazing. It’s just so tough in our sport. Only one can go to the Olympics per event and I’m really excited about the next few months and the lead up to Tokyo and then we’ll see,” Fox said.
“For me the goal was to qualify for Tokyo this year and to try and get the pre-nomination. And to do that it was also showing up to try and defend my world titles. Not today, but hopefully there will be other opportunities,” the four-time C1 and three-time K1 world champion said about the goals on the weekend.
Fox qualified for Sunday’s women’s C1 final with a second place in the morning’s semi-final and when she picked up a two-second penalty for a gate touch early on in the final, it was all about catching up.
In the end Fox did manage to finish the run with the fastest raw time, but adding the two seconds meant a 0.94 margin for Germany’s winner Andrea Herzog. Austria’s Nadine Weratschnig finished third.
“I’m not quite sure what happened, but I slipped a bit in my run and touched gate three so obviously that’s a two seconds penalty that I had to chase the rest of the course.
“The rest of the run was attacking and apart from another little time loss under the bridge I think the run was really good and I’m really proud about that fight to the finish and obviously Andrea put down an incredible run. I’m very pleased for her winning her first world title and doing it in style.
“She went four seconds faster than the semi-final so I had to try and chase that. I almost got there but the touch obviously cost me. But I’m very pleased for a silver again today,” Fox said about her run and crediting her competitor.
A silver medal meant a new world champion in the class, but Fox was still happy with her performance at the world champs as well as the season overall that saw her once again win the overall C1 and K1 world cup title.
She has also worn the C1 world number 1 uninterrupted since 2013 which is an impressive statistic in itself. The two silver medals at La Seu brought her individual world championships medal tally to ten and her overall medals (including team) on world champs level to 15.
“People tend to look at the medals, I tend to look at the runs. And I think I had some phenomenal runs this season. I maybe didn’t win but they were still some of my best runs. The ones that did win were incredible and I had some fantastic performances today, “ Fox dismissed the statistics.
“Yesterday the K1 was a great run, Eva was better and she’s done an amazing finish and today Andrea blew us all away and I had to chase it. I’m still pleased with silver,” the 25-year old added.
In the men’s K1 Rio Olympia Lucien Delfour locked away the Olympic quota spot for Australia by qualifying for the final following a sixth place in the semi-final.
In the final he was going for the attack and the win but a time loss at the bottom end of the course saw him drop into eighth place.
“I suppose eighth is better than not being in the final. But it was such a silly mistake that I did on the bottom of the course. It was probably because I was trying to go for the win, but sometimes those little mistakes just happen,” Delfour said self-critically.
In other Australian results, Rosalyn Lawrence just missed the final of the women’s C1 after finishing 16th in the semi-final. Noemie Fox finished 30th after a gate miss in the semi-final.
Tim Anderson (NSWIS) raced his first world championships final ever and finished a strong 17th.