Jessica Fox has won both the women’s C1 (single canoe) and K1 (single kayak) at the Canoe Slalom Australian Open in Penrith, edging out her sister Noemie in the C1 on Sunday.
Olympian Jessica Fox, a former Blaxland High student, holds three C1 World Champion titles, and on Sunday had a clean run with a time of 106.81. She was 12.1 seconds ahead of her sister in second (118.91) and Tasmanian Kate Eckhard in third (119.81).
“My sister was in the lead as I was going so I knew I had to put down a good run and I’m happy with how it went. The event has been a great start to the year and to our selections,” Jessica Fox said.
“It’s been fantastic to have so many internationals out here so I was happy to get that win. We’re in a different phase than the Europeans, for us this is our selection and for the internationals they’re in a training block, but its good to race them and I look forward to the season ahead.”
Noemie said she was nervous at the start of racing at Penrith Whitewater Stadium, but managed to hold it together.
“I think Jess showed she’s one level above us, but it’s really cool to train with her and race with her because she is one of the best paddlers in the world,” the 20-year old said.
“This was like a World Cup. There are so many great paddlers here so to test yourself against everyone is really cool, and to do it on our home course is even better.”
In the K1 final on Saturday, Jessica Fox stormed home in 103.77, ahead of Germany’s Ricarda Funk in 107.24, and Tasmanian Kate Eckhardt in 107.77.
“It wasn’t the best run, but it was a solid run and I kept it together top to bottom, so I was happy to cross the line in first place,” Jessica Fox said.
“It’s early in the season but it’s nice to get a win under the belt and Ricarda is a fantastic athlete. She was the one to beat last year and I’m sure she will be fired up again this year.”
Meanwhile, Lapstone Olympian Ian Borrows was fourth in the men’s C1 final on Saturday. He finished 2.61 seconds behind winner Denis Gargaud Chanut of France (98.68), following one touch halfway down the course.
The annual migration of the world’s best canoe slalom athletes from the northern hemisphere to the Australian summer has been particularly strong this year, with many of the athletes spending several weeks in Australia preparing for another big European season ahead.
Australian slalom team selections for the 2018 World Cup and World Championship season will be confirmed later this week. The World Championships will be held in Rio de Janeiro in September. Jessica Fox’s wins in both C1 and K1 have granted her selection already.