While the U.S. Men’s team pinned their hopes on a podium finish Down Under, it was Brazil for the men and home-country New Zealand for the women winning the overall crowns at the 2013 World Rafting Championships Rotorua, New Zealand. As for bragging rights between the two U.S. teams, there won’t be any; they both came home with a 7th place showing overall.
The action started on the lower section of the Kaituna River in the Sprint division, with teams racing from below Tutea Falls. New Zealand won the men’s division in 2:13, followed by Canada and Japan in second and third. The U.S. finished just behind Great Britain and Brazil for seventh. The U.S. women took the ninth spot, with Great Britain winning the gold, Japan slaloming to second and the Kiwis third.
From there, it went to the head-to-head race, where each U.S. team recorded their best showing of the week. Competing against each other on the top section of the Kaituna, jockeying for position the entire way, teams went mano-a-mano until Chile emerged victorious over Brazil in the finals, followed by Slovenia in third, Russia in fourth and the U.S. men in fifth. The U.S. women, meanwhile, settled for third behind winner Slovakia and the second-place Kiwis.
On day three it was all about slalom. Teams had two chances on the pushy, tight course on the Tarawera River. The Brazilian men easily secured a first place finish with a fast and clean second run, followed by Japan and the Czech Republic. The U.S. settled for 13th after a couple of touches. For the women, Slovakia took the top spot, with the U.S. gals paddling to ninth.
Rounding out the event was the Downriver race, the competition with the highest point value, with 400 points up for grabs in the 45-minute race. Teams started with a Le Mans-style start, including a jog to their rafts before paddling 11 km of Kiwi-style Class III on the Rangitaiki River. The top rafts started in groups of four for the finale, all jockeying for the lead position. Brazil then surged ahead to take the lead from Japan and Chile with New Zealand a close fourth. In the last stretch, Brazil pulled ahead for the fastest time of the day, securing the Downriver event, and more importantly, the overall title. Japan finished second, with New Zealand edging out Chile for the bronze. In the women’s race, New Zealand edged out Slovakia for the top spot, with the Czech Republic taking third and the U.S. seventh.
Final results? The top five teams were, in order, Brazil, Japan, New Zealand, Chile and Slovenia, with Russia taking sixth and the U.S. men seventh. For the women, the Kiwis nabbed the top spot, followed by Slovakia and the Czechs, with the U.S. taking seventh, matching the men.
“These guys have trained together for 10 years,” says Brazil team spokesman Silmar Sendin. “They had a dream, fought hard everyday to reach it, and today, it came true.”
Full results: CLICK HERE
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