The Australian slalom team returned home to Australia on Wednesday 18 July after the final World Cup event in Augsburg, Germany with some hard work ahead of the World Championships in Brazil.
Robin Bell produced the fastest second run in the C1 class to move up from fourth position after the semi final to win a silver medal behind Nico Bettge of Germany in the final World Cup of the season.
The medal puts Bell firmly in contention for the world championships and Olympic qualification later this year. "I am happy to have been in the top five and in the hunt for medals at all three World Cups. I left it to the last run of the World Cup campaign to bring home a medal and this now sets me up for my preparation for the worlds".
Bell is looking to reach the form of two year’s ago when he was crowned World Champion and the consistency he achieved in the event in Germany suggests he is well on the way to achieving his goal.
Whilst he found consistency, finishing 3rd overall for the World Cups after a 4th and 5th in the previous World Cups; his team mates will need some serious improvements in performances ahead of the World Championships, which will be held at Foz do Iguaçu, near the border of Brazil and Argentina from September 19 – 23.
The 2007 World Championships serve as a qualifier for the Beijing Olympic Games next year and will provide added motivation for all athletes involved.
Fellow C1 paddlers Matt Gabb and Christian Fabris gained much needed experience from the tour but were hampered by penalties on more than one occasion. Fabris finished 21st in World Cup 2 in Slovenia, which was his best international result to date, whilst he finished 32nd in Prague and missed the semi finals in Augsburg. Gabb finished 39th, 37th, and 33rd in the three events.
C2 pair, Mark Bellofiore and Lachie Milne were consistent with their performances at all three World Cups however they failed to make the final at any. Their best result was at World Cup 2 in Tacen, where having qualified 4th for the semi final stage, they suffered a range of penalties before finishing 14th. They added a 16th and 18th in their other two outings but will be confident of a better showing when the World Championships come around in September.
Warwick Draper went close in his performance in the final World Cup in Augsburg, Germany finishing in 13th position and only one second outside of the final. He had finished 30th and 22nd in the first two World Cup’s and knows he has some work to do. Having been part of the 2004 Athens Olympic team, Draper knows exactly what it takes to qualify at Olympic level.
Anthony Brown also put in some good performances throughout the tour and finished in 34th, 19th and 26th. Robert Parker finished 46th, 61st and 59th and will need to be on his game to threaten in Brazil.
In the Ladies K1, Kate Lawrence showed signs of good form in Germany as she recorded a 13th place finish, however several gate touches during the semi final kept her from a top 5 spot going into the final. The result was an improvement following a 32nd and 23rd in the first two events, and she will take confidence from her efforts in Augsburg.
Louise Natoli was consistent during all three events and placed 35th, 17th and 20th respectively, however she too failed to make a final. Sarah Grant, having missed the cut in Prague, came home 19th in Tacen in her debut World Cup to record her best ever finish in an international event. She will have gained a great deal of experience from the trip and can now look to go that extra step in Brazil.
Head Coach, Myriam Fox is confident all is not lost, "With improved execution and discipline, I’m confident we can build on these results at the test event leading into the Worlds."
Use our classifieds to find a job or promote a vacancy
Your local club can help you improve your paddling
Let us help you with the first steps
Join our Newsletter to get the latest news and info