Rugby Canoe Club’s Kimberley Woods was in action at the British Open and Double Premier Race at the Lea Valley Olympic Slalom Course at the weekend.
Kimberley was taking part in the events that included all GB Senior, U23 and Junior team members as part of the Premier Division entry and best of the division 1 paddlers of the year. The British Open had guests from German and the Czech Republic including Karolina Galaskova, the 2012 Junior European K1W Champion.
On the Saturday Kimberley came 2nd in the C1W class after losing several seconds in an upstream move. She followed this with a fourth place on the Sunday. Although disappointed by this result it was in part due to changing her paddling style, relying more on cross bows than switching sides to enable her to progress next year. However, with Kimberley’s consistency, she came 2nd in the British Open and 3rd in the National Senior rankings.
Racing in her K1, Kimberley came an excellent 5th place in the 1st race and improved this on the Sunday coming 4th, with only the Senior team in front of her in the premier race. Due to the British open scoring system, Kimberley’s consistency gave her second place in the British Open due to being the second fastest competitor on the final run.
Kimberley beat Karolina Galaskova in both races and the British Open which will give her more confidence at next year’s World and European championships.
Following a very competitive year Kimberley is 3rd in the Nation Senior ranking in K1W just in front of Lizzie Neave, GB’s Olympian.
Lee Valley White Water centre is set within a mile of Junction 25 of the M25, the iconic venue that hosted the 2012 Olympics. It also hosted the last two National Premier Division races of the 2012 racing season, combined with the British Open.
The premier races were a standard format with the best run from two, deciding the winner whereas the British open used the first day’s race as the qualification with the first run of the second race used as the semi-final and the last run as the final with competitors dropped from the British Open results at each stage. This required competitors to produce consistently good times at each stage of the process.
The weather was cold and wet particularly on the Sunday morning with atrocious racing conditions for the athletes as they responded to the challenging white water conditions.
The course designers presented athletes with two different challenging courses over the weekend, designed with fast racing in mind which produced very competitive racing across all classes and each age category. The first course was more open where speed was more important where as the Sunday course was more technical requiring a higher level of technical skills combined with strength moves.