The ICF Canoe Slalom World Cup started in Prague. The qualification went well for all the Czech boats
The first races of the ICF Canoe Slalom World Cup 2022 started on the Friday morning 10 June. The first stop of this year's series was the artificial canoe slalom course in Prague - Troja. The first day of the competition traditionally started with qualifying races. The competition was started by kayakers.
The first paddlers on the course were the 54 kayakers. The home competitor Tereza Fišerová advanced safely from the first race to the semi-finals. As a newcomer to this category, she was even fastest in the initial qualifying race (95.53 s). She also left behind the Olympic medallist Jessica Fox from Australia, who made a mistake at the end of the course. Thanks to the traditionally fast ride, however, she will also present herself in Saturday's semi-finals. Despite 6 penalty seconds, the second Czech kayaker Antonie Galušková (103.45 s, 6 penalty seconds) will also take part in the semi-finals, and the advancing Barbora Valíková (101.79 s., 2 penalty seconds) also performed even better. The semi-finalists also include the British Mallory Franklin with Kimberley Woods, the Italian Stafanie Horn, the Slovak Eliška Mintálová and the German Ricarda Funk.
"I would say that my start in this category was too calm. Although I felt nervous at first, I felt great on the water. And that's probably what the run looked like. It slipped nicely and I went as I wanted. I am very happy that it worked out and I will save my strength for the next few days. But it is important for me that I managed to get to the semi-finals from the first race," Tereza Fišerová shone at the finish. And rest in the next hours will be really crucial. As the racer herself admitted with a laugh, getting up in the morning makes her quite a problem and she is still waiting for a canoeing race. "I'm more of a night owl, getting up in the morning is uncomfortable for me, I'm a big sleeper in the morning. Today, I had an alarm set for 5:40 am and my mother and dog had to pull me out of bed because I didn't want to wake up," added Tereza Fišerová, who is expected to qualify also in C1W category.
"It's great to be back. I am always excited in the Czech Republic, the races are always fantastic, the atmosphere is incredible. For me personally, the Prague channel is not one of the most difficult, but despite one mistake at the end of the track, I am satisfied with my qualifying run," added Jessica Fox.
After the women´s category, the 67 kayakers took part in the K1M qualification. The Czech trio Jiří Prskavec, Vít Přindiš and Ondřej Tunka did not hesitate here either. All Czech boats advanced from the first qualifying run. The fastest in qualifying was the Italian Giovanni De Gennaro. The British Joseph Clarke, the Slovenian Peter Kauzer, the Austrian Felix Oschmautz and the Slovak Jakub Grigar will also introduce themselves to the audience on Saturday.
„Race in Prague was beautiful. I also was here before the Olympic Games last year and I enjoyed it so much. It is always nice feeling, great atmosphere and I love it. Qualification run was good. I didn´t think it would be enough to win. I did a mistake in the middle part of the course, so I pushed to the end. We all know it is all about tomorrow, not today, but I still have good feelings to start the weekend,“ said Giovanni De Gennaro, the winner of the qualification.
"It was a very smooth run, I did really well. Until one of the last gates, where I misjudged the course. But I have already seen in the finish that it is perfectly fine and it is enough to proceed. I'm really looking forward to tomorrow, to the Prague fan boiler. It was without them for the last two years. I like it very much, I believe that the weather will be nice, that the stands will be full, which will drive us to the finish line, that there will be a beautiful course and we will enjoy a nice day by the water," the Olympic champion Jiří Prskavec looks forward (87.73 s, 2 seconds).
"The run was quite good. My hands didn't go well during the start today, but I tried to show a clean qualifying run, even though I knew that the gates were built quite low at the bottom. More than we're used to. So I tried to watch it but I struggled with it quite extremely. Fortunately, I managed it with honour and I think I also took a nice place in tomorrow's semi-finals. After the last two years of the covid, I enjoy the fact that there are spectators here, that we don't have to put on the masks right after the finish, we don't shy away from anyone. It's very pleasant and generally more relaxed," said Přindiš, who finished sixth in the first qualifying race (87.31 s).
Photo: Barbora Reichová