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Double gold for Czech canoeist Ondrej Rolenc

Double gold for Czech canoeist Ondrej Rolenc 11.5.2017
11/05/2017 - Czech canoeist Ondrej Rolenc was in the spotlight of the first competition day of the 2017 ECA Wildwater Canoeing European Championships in Skopje, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. 25-year-old Rolenc won two gold medals in the individual classic events on the Vardar River. Another milestone was reached by Swiss paddler Sabine Eichenberger, who won gold medal in women’s canoe event 20 years after she won European Champion title in women’s kayak event. Italian paddlers Mathilde Rosa and Cecilia Panato also picked up two medals each today. 

The 2017 ECA Wildwater Canoeing European Championships in Skopje kicked off with individual classic races in all six categories. The most successful paddler of the day was Ondrej Rolenc who first celebrated a win in men’s canoe event and later repeated the success with his teammate Daniel Suchanek in men’s C2. 
“I am very satisfied, because this is the highest thing in this sport and what I want. The water in this course was really flat, but we are competitors and we must compete. I like racing and winning,” said Rolenc after his second gold medal of the day on a course which was very challenging in terms of physical preparation since the water was almost flat.
With Czechs being strong like always they will be favourites also in the team event as well as in sprint. “I hope we will get to the sprint final and then we will try to win a medal. Our stronger discipline is classic, but who knows. In team event we have a really strong team, so I hope for a good result,” added Suchanek.
Germans Tim Heilinger and Normen Weber were second in men’s C2 and French duo Stephane Santamaria – Quentin Dazeur third.
Czech team was once again very strong in the classic races. They have picked up all three medals in men’s C1. Ondrej Rolenc was first, Vladimir Slanina second and Antonin Haleš third. Klara Hricova became European Champion in women’s kayak while, while Karolina Paloudova picked up bronze medal in women’s canoe.
It was a really tight race in women’s C1 event where only 1.58 seconds divided the first two competitors. Sabine Eichenberger (SUI) picked up another medal for her impressive collection. Experienced paddler, who also has an Olympic medal from the 1996 Atlanta Olympics 500 metres canoe sprint event, won European Champion title 20 years after she won the same title in women’s kayak classic event in La Plagne. Italian Cecilia Panato was second and Karolina Paloudova (CZE) third.
“It was really hard to paddle on this water. I said to myself after the first few hundredths metres that the decision not to compete in kayak event here was the right one for today. I am not so good in sprint, I prefer classic races, but we will see what happens,” said Sabine Eichenberger.
Klara Hricova (CZE) became a new K1W European Champion after another tight race. She was 0.45 seconds faster than Eef Haze from Netherlands, while Mathilde Rosa (ITA) crossed the finish line 9.09 seconds behind.
Young German kayaker Nico Paufler, who already has medals from the junior championships in his collection, including in canoe marathon (he was third last year in junior event in Pontevedra), celebrated a win in men’s kayak event ahead of Slovenian Simon Oven and French Paul Jean.
The first competition day in Skopje ended with women’s C2 classic race. Italians finished the race in places one and two thanks to Alice and Cecilia Panato, who are new European Champions, and to Mathilde Rosa – Marlene Ricciardi. Cecilia Panato also won a medal in C1 event, while Mathilde Rosa in K1 event. Cindy Coat and Manon Durand (FRA) were third.
The 2017 ECA Wildwater Canoeing European Championships will continue on Friday with classic team events.