The last individual competition of the 2020 ECA European Championships in Prague was the C1 men final. The thrilling battle has brought the victory to the Slovenian experienced competitor Benjamin Savšek, who also managed to defend his title from last year. The Czech joy for the next medal double – silver Lukáš Rohan and bronze Václav Chaloupka. Rohan will also represent in Tokio 2021.
The C1 final did not start well for the French paddlers. Both Joly and Gargaud Chanut got the 50s penalisations in the first gates and were out of the medal game. Good performance by Thomas Koechlin, who showed an excellent combination of gates number 8 to 10, and set the leading time of 113.27 s.
Slovenian Luka Božič showed that he is a powerful and technical competitor. He had a fast run but got two touches on 5 and 14, setting the time of 111.0. The first Czech on the start was Lukáš Rohan, who got the 2 points penalty on 6th gate but then continued without mistakes pushing the final time down to 108.66 s taking the lead.
The second home Olympic adept Lukáš Heger showed a risky run. Despite the 6 seconds of penalties, he went fast and got third at that moment.
But Václav Chaloupka had a great start. He had to slow down a bit at the gate number 10 but the final time of 109.52s put him on second place.
The last on the start was the title defender from Slovenia Benjamin Savšek. He controlled the race from the beginning and showed a great technique. The final time 104,90 s only confirmed his mastery and it was a reward for a great competition. Silver then for Lukáš Rohan and bronze for Václav Chaloupka.
“I am really happy to defend the European title from the last year, it was amazing run, the speed was good, but the course was really hard. I focused on my run and I am really happy. I like this course, there is a lot of waves, so I really like it and I think it suits me. I guess the final run was little bit better than the semi-final one, so I am happy I can repeat it again as the course was really hard and you need to be very concentrated on the run,” said the title defender Savšek.
“It is great. In this moment, the priority was the European medal not the Olympic selection. I was focused to get to the final and I wanted to show a top run for which I have been training for so long – I still did not manage it as I exactly wanted. But I am really happy for the medal.. The course was hard, especially for canoeists. We may be happy for the support from our friends and families who were able to enter the championships. Thanks to them and the great commentators, the atmosphere was really superb and it is the best in the world,” said silver Lukáš Rohan.
“It is unbelievable; I did not expect myself on the level of medal position. It is my dream comes true. Iknow that the best opponents like Slovaks and Britons stayed at home but it does not make my happiness smaller. I must say that the atmosphere was as good for me as it was during the World cups in the past. I must say thanks to all fans,” said bronze Václav Chaloupka.
Picture Jan Homolka