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France and Belgium take the spotlight in individual sprint finals

France and Belgium take the spotlight in individual sprint finals 14.8.2021

The last day of the 2021 ECA Wildwater Canoeing European Championships in Sabero brought individual and team wildwater sprint finals. French team dominated the day, winning gold medals in majority of the events. Only one individual and one team gold medal went to the other than French team.

Spectators in Sabero saw another day of excellent racing on the Esla River. In the morning part of the programme the individual sprint finals were held and France took the gold medals in all events but one.
It was Belgium's Maxime Richard who denied a completely golden day for France and took the win in men's kayak final. 33-year-old Belgian found the fastest line and celebrated a win, 0.060 seconds ahead of Maxence Barouh from France. Bronze medal went to Anže Urankar from Slovenia, silver medallist of the last European Championships. The defending European Champion in sprint Nejc Žnidarčič from Slovenia was out of the medals in fourth place.
"I am super happy. I was never European Champion before. I got silver medal back in 2009, this was one of the medals I was missing. I had a clean run, the feeling was good. That's just a perfect start of the day. I was expecting this course to be a big longer, so I was training to be about 50 seconds. Usually I am able to have quite good finish. So, when it is so short a very little mistake is going to leave you out of the podium. It was a nice distance, but I would not mind if it was just a little bit longer. The goal here was to win a gold medal. I had a good start of the season at World Cup in Banja Luka a few weeks ago, so I knew I am back at my maximum speed. Today I was able to use it to reach the goal, " said Maxime Richard. 

All the remaining individual finals were dominated by French paddlers. Pauline Freslon started the successful day with a win in women's kayak final. She was 0.260 seconds faster than Czech kayaker Barbora Dimovova, while Lise Vinet from France took bronze medal.
The French celebration was continuing in men's canoe final. Quentin Dazeur took the confident win, with more than half a second advantage over two Czechs - Ondrej Rolenc in second place and Matej Vanek in third.
The Marseillaise played in honour of Elsa Gaubert who was the fastest in women's canoe final. It was a tight final as Cecilia Panato from Italy crossed the finish line only 0.190 seconds behind the winner to claim silver medal. Helene Raguenes from France finished the race in third place.
Stephane Santamaria - Quentin Dazeur and Pierre Troubady - Hugues Moret were the top two crews of men's C2 final to celebrate a double French win in this event. Normen Weber and Tim Heilinger were third, about a second and a half behind the winners Santamaria - Dazeur.
The last individual event of the day was women's C2, but it is a non-official Championships event. Here too, the French crew Elsa Gaubert - Helene Raguenes won. Two British doubles Laura Milne - Ellie Seed and Kerry May Christie - Emma Eve Christie were second and third respectively.
In the afternoon part of the programme we followed the sprint team events where France once more showed their superpower. Out of the four official events three were won by the French team. It was the Slovenian men's K1 team with Anže Urankar, Simon Oven and Nejc Žnidarčič who celebrated gold medal with 0.320 seconds advantage over French kayakers Felix Bouvet, Maxence Barouh and Luca Barone. Czech kayak team claimed bronze medal.
In women's kayak team sprint event Pauline Freslon, Lise Vinet and Phenicia Dupras produced almost one and a half second faster time than Czechs, while Germany took bronze medal.
Quentin Dazeur, Charles Ferrion and Etienne Klatt won gold for France in men's canoe ahead of the teams from Czech Republic and Germany.
In the final event of the championships - men's C2 sprint team event - France concluded an amazingly successful day with another superb run and gold medal. Czechs were second and Germans third.


Live Results: https://www.conersyslive.com/Results/Schedule?chid=999


Live Streaming: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpy6ymNkyOTWAtWX8-svhag