The last semifinalists of the individual canoe slalom events at the European Games Krakow-Malopolska 2023 are known. On Friday, canoeists fought for the 30 places in the semifinal which is on the programme on the last day of the European Games. German canoeists Elena LILIK and Franz ANTON were the best paddlers of the morning heats.
The 2018 world champion Franz ANTON (GER) produced the best run in men’s canoe heats in Kolna Sports Centre to secure a place in Sunday’s semifinal. The 33-year-old paddler had a penalty free run and was half a second faster than Lucas ROISIN (FRA) in second place, while Luka BOZIC from Slovenia concluded the first stage of the race in third position.
“I am quite happy with my run. Six days ago, I changed my boat from lady Hype to Demon 4 which is a huge difference. I felt comfortable, and I had to figure it out here in Krakow where is my sit position. In the first few sessions I struggled a lot with this. Now, I am happy I have completed my run that I am totally happy with from the start to the finish line,” said ANTON.
Elena LILIK (GER) was the fastest in women’s canoe heats despite the touch on the gate number 20. The touch meant an addition of two seconds to her time, however, she was still one second faster than Tereza KNEBLOVA (CZE) in second position. Elena MICOZZI (ITA) a bit surprisingly concluded the heats in third place.
“I am super happy with my run. I had a stupid touch with the tail of my boat, but it happens sometimes. I am very excited for the next few days,” said LILIK.
LILIK, who also successfully qualified to kayak semifinal, added, “Before the race I was thinking a lot about the gates four and five, but also about the combination eight-nine-ten- eleven. That’s the tricky part.”
Majority of the favourites advanced from the heats to the semifinal on Sunday, but some had many problems on the Vistula River and were placed outside the semifinalists. One of them is Swiss canoeist Thomas KOECHLIN, the 2017 European Championships silver medallist, who had 56 penalty seconds in his second run, which meant he concluded his competitions at the European Games.
In the afternoon, men’s and women’s canoe team events are on the programme where the teams will fight for the medals.
The complete competition schedule and results can be found here.
European Games Krakow-Malopolska 2023 is the Europe’s biggest multidisciplinary sporting event in 2023. More than 7 thousand athletes are competing in 26 sports and 29 disciplines for 253 gold medals. More than that, European Games 2023 are part of the qualification process for the Olympic Games in Paris 2024 in 19 sports. This great celebration of sports starts with opening ceremony in Krakow on 21st of June. The closing ceremony will take place on July 2nd.