CANOEING: Kimberley Woods at British Open

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Kimberley Woods from Rugby Canoe Club took part in the British Open and Premier Division race 9 at Holme Pierrepont artificial slalom course at Nottingham.

The weekend programme consisted of the Premier division ranking event and qualification for the British Open on the Saturday followed by British Open single run semi-final and finals on the Sunday.

There were 35 competitors in the Women’s Premier Division race, the largest entry this year, and 44 in the British Open including the Corinna Kuhnle the current World Champion from Austria and competitors from Germany, The Czech Republic, Slovakia, France and Ireland.

The course on the Saturday was physically hard with moves on stoppers that had recently been changed providing different water conditions and new challenges. The course included several tight crosses and stopper moves that suited Kimberley allowing her to keep in touch with top paddlers.

On Saturday Kimberley’s first run in her Kayak was her best with a time of 103.32 seconds with 2 seconds of penalties added gave her a 5th place in the British Open Qualification event and 2nd in the Premier race, in front of several members of the GB senior and under 23 teams. This result consolidated her position of 7th in the end of season national rankings 3 places higher than 2010.

In the Canadian class Kimberley came 2nd consolidating her position at the top of the national rankings and becoming the 2011 Nation Champion in Canoe slalom.

In the semi-finals on the Sunday the top 30 competitors race in the reverse order of their qualification with the slowest paddlers going first. The course was different from the heats and proved particularly difficult for the Canadian paddlers with most of the women competitors making mistakes including Kimberley, but she still managed to come 2nd and qualify for the final. In the kayak Kimberley completed the course in 105 seconds and dropped to 8th place, making the last 10 going into the final. In the final Kimberley’s hand slipped on the paddle at the last gate and she failed to get the boat round and through the gate in one move costing her many seconds resulting in her coming 3rd overall. The Kayak run was less than 20 minutes after the canoe and did not provide sufficient time to recover or prepare adequately. Although Kimberley’s time was quick, she made a mistake on gate 14 resulting in a 50 second penalty being added to her time and dropping to 10th place

Kimberley now starts her the winter training program, leaving the Sport England under 16 Development Squad and joining the UK Olympic Potential Development Squad.