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The World Youth Championships in canoe slalom and kayak cross started in Krakow on Tuesday. The white and red teams did not win the coveted medal on the first day, but in several runs they showed that they have a lot of potential. Just behind the podium were our juniors in C-1 and our youngsters in K-1. The arena for the competition is the Kolna track, refreshed on the occasion of the European Games Krakow-Malopolska 2023.

The World Youth and Junior Championships returned to Wawel after a four-year absence. More talented youngsters are already competing on the Kolna circuit in Krakow, and we may see the beginning of great careers for the next competitors. In total, nearly 500 slalom racers from 50 countries will take part in the six days of competition at the Małopolska venue.

Our most dangerous rivals from the Old Continent shone at the opening of the World Championships Krakow 2023. Polish hopes for a successful opening were mainly linked to the start of the canoeists. The trio of Tadeusz Kuchno, Michał Ciągło and Jacek Brański were the closest to the podium – just like during the European Youth Championships in Bratislava in July. The fifth goal turned out to be unlucky for the red and white team, as the last two goals were not scored correctly. The resulting penalty points again deprived our slalom team of the coveted medal. The Poles took fifth place in the K-1 competition, losing by less than two points to the third-placed Italians. The French were best and the Spanish second.

“There is a slight lack of satisfaction, because our performance was quite good,” admits Ciągło. “We certainly could have ridden better, stronger and faster, but these four points were the main reason why we were fifth. This day and the team result in K-1 is a good prognosis for the next starts,” he adds.

In the afternoon session, dedicated to the canoe competition, we observed the dominance of the Czechs. The national team of our southern neighbours won three of the four C-1 finals, “giving up” only the battle for the youth medals, which, as in K-1, was won by the French. The white-red team of Szymon Nowobilski, Filip Leśniak, Maciej Bartos achieved the eighth result of the final.

“I have mixed feelings after this performance. We had big plans after Bratislava, where we narrowly missed the podium. We thought we could achieve this on the Krakow track, where we can really do anything, but I think our nerves ate us up. It’s an experience that will make Wednesday’s individual starts much better,” Bartos is looking for positives.

On Wednesday, the next day of the World Youth Championship Kraków 2023 (broadcast of the competition on the Recast platform) we will see the elimination runs of the youngsters in the K-1 and C-1 competitions.

The World Youth Championships Krakow 2023 in canoe slalom and kayak cross will conclude on Sunday, 20 August. The championships are organised by the ICF, the Polish Canoe Federation and the Krakow Canoe Club. The event is held under the honorary patronage of the Minister of Sport and Tourism Kamil Bortniczuk, the Marshal of the Malopolska Region Witold Kozłowski and the Mayor of Krakow Jacek Majchrowski. The main partner of the event is the Municipality of Krakow, and the partners are the Sports Infrastructure Management Board of Krakow, the Malopolska Region and the Ministry of Sport and Tourism. Sponsors of the event are PGE Polska Grupa Energetyczna S.A., Lotto and the City.