Euphoria and Sadness. Kayak Cross in Prague decided olympic quotas

ICF Světový pohár ve vodním slalomu 6.6. - 9.6.2024The day awaited by the whole world arrived. Three Olympic spots were up for grabs in both men's and women's categories. France’s Angele Hug and Spain’s Manuel Ochoa both won kayak cross gold on the final day of the International Canoe Federation World Cup in Prague, but both now face a nervous wait to learn if they will get to compete at the Paris Olympics.

In the women's category, the competition was dramatic. The final included participants from the Czech Republic, France, Australia, and Great Britain. The Czech competitor crossed the finish line first, but the judges disqualified her for missing gate number 6, moving the Czech representative to fourth place – not an Olympic position.
In the end, France’s Angele Hug dominated the women's category, with Australia’s Noemie Fox taking second place and Great Britain’s Nikita Setchell finishing third. “I’ve had tough training sessions, but I’ve never achieved such success. Today I made it, and I’m incredibly happy,” said Angele Hug, the day’s winner. “I’m heading to Krakow for the next World Cup event because our national nomination for Paris is still open. I hope to make it to the Olympics; it would be my debut!”

Great Britain’s Nikita Setchell finished third, securing an Olympic quota. If they accept it, either Kimberley Woods or Mallory Franklin will miss the event in Paris. If Great Britain decides not to accept the ticket, it will be allocated to Czechia.

In the men's category, Spain’s Manuel Ochoa triumphed. “I feel very happy, speechless actually, after many months of work to secure the Olympic spot for my country, and to take the gold medal is an awesome feeling,” Ochoa said. Germany’s Tillmannz Roeller took second place, and France’s Boris Neveu finished third.Uniqa

“It’s not just a victory, it’s an Olympic spot. I’m proud of today’s result and what I’ve achieved. In Spain, the nomination is still open, and we still have to fight for the Olympic spot. We have a strong team, and whoever goes will deserve it!” commented Spain’s Manuel Ochoa with a smile. “I love racing in Prague. The city and the racecourse are always perfect, and the race atmosphere is unmatched, even by the World Championships. It’s something more, and I love coming back here.”

CEZgroupThe Czech team, like the Swiss team, failed to secure an Olympic spot in both the men's and women's categories. The drama on the track turned into drama at the finish line. Tereza Kneblová made it to the final from the repechage. What’s more, she crossed the finish line first. At that moment, not only she but also her teammate Tereza Fišerová celebrated, as she had secured an Olympic spot for Paris. However, their joy lasted only a few minutes. After reviewing the footage, the judges changed the finalists’ rankings, and Kneblová ended up fourth. Vít Přindiš also definitively missed out on the Paris start.

Tereza Fišerová initially celebrated a lot; after this year's troubles, participation in the Olympic Games was the perfect balm for her. “I don’t know what to add, it’s bittersweet. I saw that Terka passed gate six very closely, but when the judges didn’t flag it immediately, I didn’t expect them to eventually decide against her,” Fišerová evaluated. “After a few minutes, the result is suddenly completely different. It’s ugly. But Terka raced beautifully, she fought hard. She apologized to me, saying she was very sorry.”

For Tereza Kneblová, the Prague Kayak Cross final was one of the toughest in her career. “In terms of dealing with disappointment, definitely. From total euphoria of winning and securing a spot for Terka at the Olympics to everything being different. It brings you down. It hurts a lot,” Kneblová described moments after the race. “Otherwise, just being in the final is a great result for me. I’m very grateful to Terka Fišerová for coming to me after the race and saying it’s okay, that I gave it my all. I appreciate that.”

From the World Cup in Prague, the world’s top competitors are moving to Krakow, Poland, where the third event in the World Cup series in water slalom and kayak cross will take place.


1. HUG Angele (FRA)
2. FOX Noemie (AUS)
3. SETCHELL Nikita (GBR)

1. OCHOA Manuel (ESP)
2. ROELLER Tillmann (GER)
3. NEVEU Boris (FRA)

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