Sports Talk: Canoe slalom athletes hit world stage
Monday, July 30, 2018
Written by Liz Fowler, Chairperson, Canoe Slalom Bay of Plenty
Winter is here for canoe slalom, and several top athletes have headed to Europe to race in the Canoe Slalom World Cups and World Championships.
A large contingent of canoe slalom athletes from the Bay of Plenty are represented in Europe: Callum Gilbert, Jack Dangen, Courtney Williams, Jane Nicholas, Lukka Jones, Mike Dawson, Zack Mutton, River Mutton, Patrick Washer, James Thwaite, Damien Torwick, Charlie Bell, Jack Egan, Stewart Bloor, George Snook and Ben Gibb.
Three local paddlers, Jack Egan, Ben Gibb and Patrick Washer, took it to the world stage at the World Cup 3 event in Ausberg, Germany in early July to compete in the canoe discipline. Egan, a junior from Tauranga, was the best placed paddler coming in at 59th in his first world cup. Washer placed 61st and Gibbs 66th.
Mike Dawson competed in the kayak but was unwell so had to pull out.
A few weeks later a large contingent of Canoe Slalom Bay of Plenty athletes headed to Ivrea, Italy for the under-18 and under-23 World Championships. The team had the best results of a New Zealand team at the Junior World Championships.
Damian Torwick, Courtney Williams, Callum Gilbert, Zack Mutton, River Mutton and Jack Dangen all made it to the semi-finals. In his final year in the under-18 division, Rotorua’s Zack Mutton progressed into the finals and placed fourth – just shy of third place after a two second penalty for a touch. Mutton’s younger sister, River, and fellow Rotorua paddler George Snook then competed in the new extreme slalom event. River Mutton placed third in the finals.
The junior paddlers are now headed back to New Zealand for the remainder of winter, and the senior paddlers are staying on in Europe to compete in the World Cups before heading to Rio de Janeiro for the World Championships in September.
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