CANOEING: Gold for Kimberley

Kimberley Woods
Kimberley Woods
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Success at Lee Valley Olympic venue

Lee Valley White Water centre is the iconic venue that hosted the 2012 Olympic canoe slalom and also saw the last National Premier Division race of the 2013 season at the weekend, combined with the British Open.

Kimberley Woods from Rugby Canoe Club was taking part in the events that included the GB Senior, U23 and Junior team members. The British Open had guests from several European countries including German, France, Sweden, Spain, Italy and the Czech Republic.

On the Saturday Kimberley in the C1W Class was in first place after the first runs but was relegated into second place in the second run by her GB team mate and rival Mallory Franklin. It consolidated her position of 2nd in the C1W National Senior rankings and the first junior. She followed this on the Sunday in the British Open with a solid performance finishing in first place winning the gold, under 23 and junior medals as well,

Racing in her K1 Kimberley came 5th in the Premier race placing her in 5th overall in the National Senior Rankings and first Junior. After a disappointing first run on the Sunday, being in 12th place, that included time penalties from touching poles and was just outside the cut for the A final, Kimberley bounced back with a solid run winning the B final by several seconds in a time that would have ensured a British Open medalif she had made the A final.

The premier race was a standard format race with the best of two runs deciding the winner, whereas the British Open used the first day’s race as the qualification, then the first run of the race on Sunday as the semi-final and the last run as the final. The weather was cold and with gusty winds that made the course difficult with the slalom poles moving in the wind as the athletes responded to the challenging white water conditions.

The first course was more open where speed was more important whereas Sunday’s required a higher level of technical skills combined with strength moves.