Jessica Fox Wins Fourth World Cup Slalom Gold

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Call it four golds for Fox. The two biggest names in world canoe slalom paddling in 2023 once again underlined their class with gold-medal winning performances on day two of finals at the International Canoe Federation World Cup in Ljubljana, Slovenia, on Saturday.

Australia’s Jessica Fox won an incredible fourth gold medal for the season with victory in the women’s K1, while Czech Jiri Prskavec won his second gold for 2023 with a win in the men’s K1.

There was also a second silver medal for the weekend for Ukraine’s Viktoriia Us, and a bronze medal to follow on from yesterday’s gold medal for Germany’s Elena Lilik.

But it was the three-time Olympian Fox who once again stole the show, bouncing back from a disappointing C1 final on Friday to lock away back-to-back K1 gold medals. It also continued Fox’s love affair with the Tacen course, where she has won gold every time she has raced there since 2013.

The Tokyo C1 gold medalist said she is looking forward to a break.

“I think I have a kind of love-hate relationship with Tacen,” Fox said. “I can’t be mad at the course today, but I definitely was feeling it yesterday. It’s definitely been amazing to come back and race here, the crowds are always really great to be in front of, and the course is always challenging.

“We’ve had three weeks of back-to-back racing, which is quite tough, physically demanding and mentally taxing. This new program is pretty challenging because there are no rest days, so I’m looking to a few days off.”

Fox finished in 96.22, well clear of US on a time of 98.91, with Lilik just 0.01 seconds back in third.

The women’s event was not without drama. Reigning Olympic champion Ricarda Funk had a run she would rather forget, not progressing to the final, while Poland’s Klaudia Zwolinska posted the quickest raw time of 95.06 in the final, but had two gate touches and four seconds of penalties to drop down to fourth.

And for the men…

Jiri Prskavec had never won a world cup gold medal outside his Prague home course before breaking through in Tacen last year. On Saturday he showed the connection with one of the most challenging courses on the ICF world circuit remained, finishing more than four seconds clear of teammate Vit Prindis.

“Last year I was saying this was only once in a lifetime to get such a good run in Tacen, and now it is for the second time, so it’s twice in a lifetime,” Prskavec said. “It’s been a really nice start to the season. In my final I just flew through and jumped on a really good wave and kept it until the end pretty much, so I was really happy about my run.”

It’s back-to-back gold medals for Prskavec after his K1 win in Prague last weekend, and he also has a C1 bronze in his debut season in the canoe.

Prindis had a two second penalty for a gate touch, but his raw time was still 2.44 seconds behind the Tokyo Olympic gold medalist. Austria’s Felix Oschmautz won the bronze.

The men’s and women’s kayak cross will wrap up the third world cup on Sunday.

RESULTS

WOMEN’S K1

  1. FOX Jessica (AUS) 96.22 (0 seconds in penalties)
  2. US Viktoriia (UKR) 98.91 (0)
  3. LILIK Elena (GER) 98.92 (0)

MEN’S K1

  1. PRSKAVEC Jiri (CZE) 85.02 (0)
  2. PRINDIS Vit          (CZE) 89.46 (0)
  3. OSCHMAUTZ Felix (AUT) 90.05 (0)

Pics by Bence Vekassy

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