CANOEING: World Championship medals for Kimberley

Kimberley Woods in action earlier this year
Kimberley Woods in action earlier this year

Bronzes in Brazil for Rugby’s young canoe star

Rugby’s canoe star Kimberley Woods has returned home from the Under 23s’ World Championships with two bronze medals.

In an outstanding few days in Brazil last week for Great Britain’s young canoe slalom paddlers, Kimberley contributed to their haul of three individual and two team medals at the ICF U23 World Championships in Foz do Iguacu.

This is Britain’s most successful championships since they started in 2012. Kimberley won bronze in the Canadian Single (C1W) event and followed this with a bronze in the C1W team event, showing the country’s growing reputation in this relatively new women’s event, which will make its Olympic debut in Tokyo.

In the qualification and semi-finals Kimberley led the way, coming first in both stages but as the final progressed with a fast time to aim at many of the top contenders pushed too hard as they fought for gold, with hot favourite, and last year’s champion, Australia’s Jessica Fox, one of the casualties. Spain’s Nuria Vilarrubla came out on top, with her clean run proving decisive after an early start in the running order.

Kimberley’s Great Britain team mate Mallory Franklin took silver, followed by a delighted Kimberley in third.

Interviewed at the finish line, Kimberley said: “The race was absolutely awesome! All the girls had really fast times. I had a really good run in my semi-final and hoped I could do it again, but just couldn’t get it together, my arms were so tired. I felt a little bit of pressure from my teammate winning gold in the C1 Men’s, but it was my first time ever on the U23 team in C1 and my first U23 Worlds. I’m happy to have medalled.”

Also doubling up in the women’s Kayak Single (K1W) later in the week and continuing her rich vein of form, Kimberley put in consistently strong performances coming sixth in both the qualification and semi-final then went on to finish fourth in another competitive showing. This was a personal best for Kimberley.

The Rugby Canoe Club member goes to Leipzig in Germany at the end of May to race in both C1 and K1 ant the European senior championships.