AUS Open - Friday Wrap Up

Jessica Fox K1W qualification runs
Australian Open - Friday 22nd February 2013
Photograph:Lauren Fitzsimons
Tom Collings, Friday, 22 February 2013

London Olympic trio Jessica Fox, Robin Jeffery and Kynan Maley show ominous touch ahead of Saturdays C1 men and K1 womens semi finals as the fight for national selection heats up!

It has been a tough start to the 2013 Australian Open with a strong wind making it a challenge for the paddlers when navigating their way down the fast and technical Sydney Olympic Course.

The wind did not seem to affect Western Australian pair Robin Jeffery and Kynan Maley who finished first and second respectively in the mens C1.

"There was a little bit of wind, but it is good because the course is pretty protected so weather wise it was almost an advantage sometimes," said Jeffery.

After a solid first run, Jeffery produced a fast and clean second run of 90.31 to finish 0.30 seconds ahead of Maley, with Frenchman Thibaut Vielliard first run time of 90.63 placing him in third.

"In the second run I had an absolute shocker coming off the start and ended up about two meters low and tried to do a bit of footy style hip and shouldering off the rocks at the bottom of the gate, but got that out of my mind quickly and charged the rest of the run and it actually turned out pretty well."

Ian Borrows (6th), Christian Fabris (10th) and Ethan Hodson (12th) also comfortably qualified for tomorrow mornings semifinal which commences at 9:30am local time.

Jeffery appears to have a new found self belief this year following a successful Olympic campaign which he puts down to the support he has received from his Coach and support crew.

"They have given me a good philosophy for my paddling, so I always know what my game plan is going to be for a race and that has given me a lot of confidence to attack a course
as opposed to having a little bit of doubt here and there."

In the U23s Derwent River paddler Andrew Eckhardt produced the goods, with his time of 101.29 placing him 17th overall, one spot ahead of Victorian Jaxon Merritt.

Western Australian Steven Lowther was the best of the junior athletes vying for selection in 20th ahead of fellow Ascot club member Brodie Crawford.

In the womens K1 heat Austrian Corinna Kuhnle showed why she has been a previous World Champion producing a blistering clean fast run of 91.80 to top the timesheet.

Kuhnle finished 0.62 seconds ahead of London Olympic silver medallist Jessica Fox, who bounced back after an indifferent first run, with German Ricarda Funk improving by 12 seconds in her second run to place third.

New South Wales paddler Rosalyn Lawrence and Victorian Sarah Grant round out the top five, with both producing fast runs, an ominous sign ahead of tomorrow’s semi final.

The afternoon session featured the mens K1, mens C2 and womens C1 heats.

24 year old Lucien Delfour showed ominous touch in the mens K1 heat producing the third fastest time.

Delfour finished in 85.79, 2.33 seconds behind Czech U23 World Champion Jiri Prskavec who produced a scintillating second run to top the time sheet ahead of former German World Champion Fabian Doerfler.

Reigning champion Sebastian Schubert and current world number one Etienne Daille of France both moved comfortably through in fourth and eighth respectively setting up a mother watering Sunday semi final.

Victorian U23 paddler Jaxon Merritt took the fight up to Delfour for senior selection qualifying sixth fastest for Sunday’s semifinal.

Fellow Victorian Timothy Anderson also impressed posting the 14th fastest time in his first year as an U23 paddler after taking the step up from juniors this year.

Talented 18 year old Tasmanian Daniel Watkins was the pick of the junior athletes with his first run time of 90.28 placing him 16th overall, but more importantly seeing him move a step closer to junior selection.

Newly formed C2 duo Robin Jeffery and Ethan Hodson finished fifth in the mens C2 heat, 9.93 seconds behind German duo Jan Benzien and Franz Anton who crossed the line in 94.29, 6.71 seconds ahead of the Chinese crew of Xiaodong Wang and Fangjia Chen.

Finally the Australians dominated the womens C1 event with Jessica Fox claiming victory in the C1 heat after her clean fast run of 101.93 saw her finish 3.90 seconds ahead of world number one Rosalyn Lawrence who earlier in the day flew down the course in her first run.

Local Penrith paddler Alison Borrows finished in third in 107.87, while Tasmanian 15 year old Kate Eckhardt impressed finishing fifth.

Racing continues tomorrow with the mens C1 semi finals getting the action underway from 9:30am.

Saturday Schedule (AUS EST)
9:30am Mens C1 Semi final
10:18am Womens K1 Semi final
Finals to follow shortly after with medal presentation scheduled for 12:15pm.

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Robin Jeffery C1M qualification runs

Lucien Delfour

Rosalyn Lawrence

Victorian U23 paddler Timothy Anderson


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