Kiwi kayakers fade on final day

Kiwi C1 paddler Hannah Thomas made her first World Cup semi-final in Slovakia last month.

The New Zealand challenge faded on the final day of the ICF world cup canoe slalom round in Slovenia on Sunday, although Tauranga’s Jack Dangen and Beachlands’ Hannah Thomas still recorded personal bests.

Dangen was the best of the three Kiwi males to make the K1 men’s semi-finals, finishing 22nd with a clear time of 92.48secs.  It left him 5.66secs outside the top-10 that progressed through to the final, which was won by Italy’s Giovanni De Gennaro.  Alexandra’s Finn Butcher was 26th, his run thwarted by three penalty touches, while Tauranga’s Callum Gilbert missed a gate and picked up 56secs’ worth of penalties to finish 39th.

Thomas, a student at Howick College, also had her best C1 result, finishing 19th in the semi-final.

She booked a spot in her first ICF World Cup canoe slalom semi-final after finishing ninth in the repechage in Slovakia on June 21.

The 17-year-old overcame some tricky gate placements on the harsh Bratislava course, posting a time of 124.40secs to easily qualify in the top-10 that made it through the second run.

She joined teammates Luuka Jones (women’s K1) and Finn Butcher (men’s K1) in the semi-finals after a brutal day which saw some big-name paddlers miss out.

“It is a tricky course and it was hard to adapt to my new C1 boat, as well as the water levels changing each day of training,” Thomas said of the repechage.

“But I was feeling really good on the water in both my kayak and canoe and felt solid, despite a couple of touches.”

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