French paddlers Romane Prigent, Anatole Delassus and Tanguy Addison firmed in favouritism to win gold at the 2021 ICF junior and U23 canoe slalom world championships with impressive heat runs in hot conditions in Slovenia on Wednesday.
Spain’s Miquel Trave was the only athlete to stand between France and a clean sweep of the qualifiers, posting the quickest time in the men’s U23 canoe slalom.
Thirty years after his father won world championship gold on the same Tacen course, 18-year-old Frenchman Tanguy Addison qualified fastest in the men’s junior C1 heats.
“Before the run I felt a little bit stressed, but during the run it felt so good, so clean,” Addison said.
“I think I can go faster. My father is watching in the tribune, it’s so good to be racing here at the same place where he won 30 years ago.”
Prigent said Tacen was fast becoming her favourite canoe slalom course. On Tuesday she was part of the victorious French K1 U23 team, which followed her world cup gold in Ljubljana last year.
“It’s a short run here in Tacen, but I did a clean run, with maybe a couple of small mistakes, but I think it was a good one,” Prigent said.
“I love this course, I love the way we can paddle with the water, I think it’s really nice. The course is even nicer with the drop now.
“I think its good for teams to win a medal at the start, because it shows everyone we are here and we can win gold medals.”
Anatole Delassus won the K1 junior world title in Krakow in 2019, and showed he is ready to take on the older paddlers with an error-free run in the U23 qualifiers.
“I felt good on the water, my run was very good, but I hope I’ve kept my best run for Friday,” Delassus said.
“I feel excited and very motivated for these championships. It’s been hard, but the French Federation have organised a lot of training, so I feel good.”
Miquel Trave is one of only a handful of male paddlers in the world who competes in both the K1 and the C1. On Wednesday he comfortably qualified for the semi-finals in the U23 K1 in the morning, and then set the fastest time in the C1 in the afternoon.
“I felt really good in the water, a bit nervous maybe because it’s been two years without a world championships, so it was good to feel the start line again,” Trave said.
“I don’t feel any pressure, I obviously want to get another world title, so I will fight for it. It’s not easy, there are 10 or 12 people who can win this world championship, so it is time to fight, time to focus on the semi-finals.”
The ICF junior and U23 canoe slalom world championships continue on Thursday, with racing in men’s and women’s junior kayak, and the women’s junior and U23 canoe.