Switzerland has lay claim to be one of the world’s leading extreme canoe slalom nations with two gold medals and a silver medal on the final day of the 2021 ICF junior and U23 canoe slalom world championships in Slovenia.
There were also gold medals for Great Britain and the United States, with the Czech Republic finishing the week as the most successful nation.
Dmitri Marx won his second men’s U23 extreme slalom gold, adding the 2021 title to the crown he won in Italy in 2018.
“It’s working well for me,” Marx said.
“After the slalom I was quite disappointed not to make the finals, so this was good for me.
“I think the Swiss have a bit of a different background to most other slalom paddlers, we all start as freestyle or whitewater paddling, and then later move to slalom.”
It was a Swiss quinella, with teammate Jan Rohrer winning silver, with Poland’s Jakub Brzezinski taking the bronze.
Switzerland also won a gold in the women’s junior extreme slalom final, with Jessica Duc taking advantage of a collision between the leading two paddlers, Russia’s Marina Novysh and Czech Tereza Kneblova, to squeeze through from third into first place.
“I was surprised to be first, I was just happy to be in the final, so to be first was incredible,” Duc said.
“I saw I got a chance to get in front, and I was very shocked to get there. This is my first world championships, but I wasn’t too worried. I have to train hard if I want a chance to progress more.”
Novysh finished second, with Kneblova taking the bronze.
Great Britain’s Nikita Setchell had never competed in an extreme slalom race before this weekend, but showed she is a quick learner with a clever win in the women’s U23 final.
“This was my first time, so it’s good to come away with this memory,” Setchell said.
“I had a few tips from some of the experts back home, so that helped me to get through. Your heart really races at the start, which is the nervous bit.
“It’s such good fun and a great spectator sport. It will be exciting in Paris.”
Setchell finished ahead of the highly regarded Czech pair of Martina Satkova and Antonie Galuskova.
The last time American Kaelin Friedenson competed in an international extreme slalom race he lost his paddle and had to complete the course using his arms. There were no similar mistakes on Sunday, with the teenager capping off an impressive day of racing with gold in the juniors.
“It helps a lot to keep hold of your paddle,” Friedenson said.
“I’m so excited to win, I can’t believe it. I’m definitely not the strongest paddler, but I still like attacking it.
“It’s such fun. I do a lot of plastic boating outside of slalom, and this is a great way to bring that into this event.”
Czech Martin Rudorfer picked up the silver, with New Zealand’s George Snook the bronze.
The Czech Republic finished the week as the most successful nation, with 395 points in the ICF Nations Cup. France finished second on 368 points, with Slovakia on 230.
RESULTS – EXTREME CANOE SLALOM
- MARX Dimitri (SUI)
- ROHRER Jan (SUI)
- BRZEZINSKI Jakub (POL)
- FRIEDENSON Kaelin (USA)
- RUDORFER Martin (CZE)
- SNOOK George (NZL)
- SETCHELL Nikita (GBR)
- SATKOVA Martina (CZE)
- GALUSKOVA Antonie (CZE)
- DUC Jessica (SUI)
- NOVYSH Marina (RUS)
- KNEBLOVA Tereza (CZE)