Australia’s Jessica Fox showed why she can be considered as a double gold-medal prospect at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics after achieving C1 and then K1 success at back-to-back International Canoe Federation (ICF) Canoe Slalom World Cup events.
Fox dominated the women’s C1 class at last week’s World Cup in Czech capital Prague before triumphing in the K1 contest in Markkleeberg in Germany today.
The Australian finished in 1min 36.76secs - an incredible 3.52sec ahead of Germany’s Ricarda Funk who clocked 1:40.28
Elena Apel, another German, came third in 1:43.00 - with all three athletes picking up a two-second penalty for a gate touch on a challenging course.
"The whole top section I felt like I was losing a bit of time, so I really had to pull it out at the bottom and really attack it and go for the tight lines, so I’m so happy to have pulled that off," Fox said.
"It’s been a great start to the World Cup campaign, and now the countdown to Tokyo is well and truly underway, 34 days to go, it will come around really quickly.
"This one will be different, the experience will be a little bit different, and being able to compete in two different events will feel very different, so I’m really excited to get there and to have that opportunity to race in C1 is so special, and to share that with all the girls that have qualified."
Slovakia’s Jakub Grigar posted his first-ever World Cup win and did it in superb style with a two-second victory in the men’s K1 class.
The 24-year-old, who won both the ICF junior and under-23 world titles twice, had previously struggled to make his mark in senior competition.
But on this occasion, Grigar was easily the fastest paddler in the semi-final and then carried that form into the final with an error-free run.
He clocked an impressive time of 1:28.91 - 2.01 ahead of Austria’s Felix Oschmautz, who won his first World Cup medal on the eve of his Olympic debut with 1:30.92.
France’s Boris Neveu also secured a place on the podium after finishing in 1:31.86.
"I’m so happy it worked out today because I didn’t really feel in the best shape," said Grigar.
"It’s my first win at a senior World Cup so I’m so happy.
"It’s been really hard, and I think my biggest mistake was I always wanted to win so much.
"I just had to realise that sometimes you had to push less to be faster, and in the last eight months I’ve just been pushing really hard in the training and less in the races, and it seems to be working out.
"I’m the type of person that when I’m on the start line I can’t think about winning, I have to be in the right place, and it was really hard for me
"So now I’m really happy that it’s become quite easy for me."
Action in Markkleeberg is due to conclude tomorrow with semi-finals and finals in the men’s and women’s C1 events as well as the extreme canoe slalom.