This year World Championships was hosted on an artificial whitewater course situated in Cunovo Slovakia, right outside the main city of Bratislava. This is an Olympic/World class course and it is the home course of some of the greatest slalom paddlers such as Michal Martikan (C1M), the Hochschorners brothers (C2M) and many more who’ve won numerous medals at previous Olympics and World Championships. Here in Slovakia Bratislava, whitewater slalom is like hockey in Canada, so this was going to be an exciting eventful World Championships.
Team Canada arrived in Bratislava on August 15th to begin training straight after World Cup 4. We came 3 weeks ahead to make sure we maximized our knowledge on this course and feel as prepared as we possibly could for the biggest competition of the year. This year, World Championships was more important than ever because this competition would also determine if Canada would qualify Olympic spots so we could send Canadian athletes to the London Olympics in 2012. During these three weeks, our coaches: Michal Staniszewski, James Cartwright, Mike Holroyd and Benoit Peschier assured we trained hard and smart.
After the Olympics, World Championships is the second most important competition. All the best athletes from many different countries around the world travel great distances for a chance to improve their world ranking or gain the honorable title of being World Champion. These short days are where many of these athletes’ dreams and objectives could be reached or they could go home deceived. We are all put to the test.
In my case, this weekend was a success because I raced well enough to gain a final 6th place at my first Senior World Championships. I struggled with the course that was set therefore I still do not feel like I raced at my full potential because I know that in training I was going even faster. Nevertheless, I am satisfied and grateful for the result I was able to lay down considering I was competing among the best C1 women in the world.
The first day, no one would have suspected my end result, since I barely made the cut for qualifications with a 19th place finish. Nonetheless, this was enough to proceed to semi-finals (top 20). My team mate Sindy Audet finished with a safe 16th place and unfortunately Haley Daniels finished 22nd therefore she did not proceed to the semis. During the semis all qualified racers had to battle it out on one run down the course in order to obtain the top 10 fastest times to proceed to finals. Once again, I just made the cut and I took the 10th place available; unfortunately Sindy (19th) did not proceed. I then raced finals where I tried to paddle my hardest and tried to make as few mistakes possible (the usual) and at this last final race I was good enough for 6th position overall. First place went to Katerina Hoskova from the Czech Republic, second to Nanquin Cen from China, and third to local Slovakian, Katarina Macova. I was satisfied to leave Europe with this last result, good racing experience and new knowledge. Later, I was informed that this was one of the best results Canada had obtained in a while in our sport for World Championships. I was really happy to represent Canada at this event and bring back our country a decent result.
Furthermore I was lucky enough to take part in the first C1 women team race ever in the World Championships. Haley, Sindy and I obtained 4th place behind the Australians (1st), Chinese (2nd) and Germans (3rd).
I wish to continue training my hardest and continue pushing myself to the limit in order to improve and possibly bring back better results in the upcoming years.