The opening of the Canoe Slalom World Cup in Prague - Troja (8-11 June 2023) was a hundred percent success for the Czech representatives. Kayaker Jiří Prskavec is heading to Friday's semi-finals from the first place in the qualification, Jakub Krejčí took sixth place and Vít Přindiš took eleventh place. Among the women, Tereza Fišerová finished fifth, Antonie Galušková from fourteenth place and Amálie Hilgertová as 18th advanced to the semi-finals. Already tomorrow, six Czech competitors will be fighting for medals.
Jiří Prskavec paddled to win the qualification in front of the home crowd. "I feel good. The plan was that I wanted to take care of it and not waste power. It went all the way to the finish, I finished relatively fresh, in the end it was enough to win, which surprised me," said the fastest kayaker of the qualification. "So it went great, the fans were great, and I expect there to be a little more tomorrow - although I don't know if I would want to go to Troja for the first qualifying canoe race at 8:50," he laughed. "I believe that a lot of people will come to the kayak semifinals and finals and it will be a true cauldron in Troja."
Despite a two-second penalty, Briton Joe Clarke won second place. “It is always challenging in Prague, obviously it was very technical course. The Czechs are really good at home so you know, we have got a big task to take but I am really happy – it is a second place in the qualification behind the reigning Olympic champion so it is not bad. It was a little bit windy but fortunately the gates were quite still so it made the racing relatively straight forward. Hopefully, tomorrow we come with this nice weather and the sun will be shining again.”
Jakub Krejčí took sixth place in the qualification during his World Cup debut at home. "I was hoping that I wouldn't have to do a second run today and tire myself unnecessarily before tomorrow's finals. I enjoyed it, it was nice, the course was going beautifully, although I got a little stuck, but otherwise I'm satisfied," commented the 21-year-old kayaker. "Even though I have completed the Czech Cups and ranking races here, the World Cup is much bigger than I expected - the pressure and atmosphere has quite an effect on me. But it's more like a healthy nervousness," he admitted.
The trio of Czech kayakers Tereza Fišerová, Antonie Galušková and Amálie Hilgertová also advanced to the semifinals from the first heat. "I'm really satisfied with the ride," commented Fišerová after qualifying, where she performed the fifth fastest run. "When I was paddling, I didn't feel very good and in shape. But then, when I flew into the course, I thought it was great how nice it was. I definitely regret the two touches, but it's important for me to know that the speed is there and now just clean it up."
Australian Jessica Fox dominated the qualification. “It's always difficult in Prague. The track is tricky, there are some moves that are unpredictable - especially in the middle section and the finish. So you have to concentrate the whole ride. I am quite satisfied that I managed to perform a good qualifying run and I am already looking forward to tomorrow's race in the C1 category.”
The World Cup program continues with tomorrow's C1 qualifications, the afternoon will include the semi-final and final battles of female and male kayakers.