Lienz 2012 – European Championships Final – Surpise Surprise

Finals day started from Junior Girls. 1st place was almost guaranteed to go to Nuria Fontane from Spain and it did. Scoring about 200 points in every round of the competition she was always well ahead of the others. 2nd and 3rd place went to German girls Lisa Hasselwander and Jana Gross who managed to throw loops in the last rides.

Next was Junior Boys. Bren had so far won every round with James Benns always on his heels. Just as we were expecting GB’s James Benns made sure Bren wouldn’t get his title too easily. In the first ride James scored 660 points, setting a very high standard for the winning ride. Bren managed to put together a very good ride and just went ahead of James by 1.667points! Such a close fight they both deserved to win. However Bren became Junior Mens European Champion, James Benns got a Silver medal and Sam Stephenson got a well-deserved Bronze. All 3 medals went to the GB team.

In C1 Lukas Cervinka from Czech got the Gold, with Philip Hitzigrath of Germany in Silver and Aitor Goikoetxea of Spain in Bronze.

Women’s finals went smoothly with no surprises, Marlene of France was going bigger than anyone on her loops and space godzillas and reclaimed her European title with almost the same score as two years ago (about 300), Silver went to Nina Csonkova of Slovakia and Bronze to Maria Lindgren from Sweden.

Last in the day was the Mens Final, and this one didn’t go along with anyones predictions 🙂 First to go in the final was GB’s James Weight who scored so far the highest ride of the competition in the previous rounds. His style is very interesting to watch – going big on all his moves, throwing backloop to mcnasty combos. Many was betting on him. This time though he didn’t manage to put all this together unfortunately and came away with 4th place.

Second to go was Joaquim Fontane from Spain, I didn’t see his run but after the commentator announced a huge score of 1170 the highest of the competition I knew it would take a magic ride to beat this.

Third to go was Sebastian Devred from France, the most consistent competitor of the event, he put together a very good rides but lacked the spark to get him in first but did get the Silver Medal.

Peter Csonka who had been fighting with his injury all week, still looked very capable of winning here. He so far had been paddling very well even through his pain but on the final day his injury seemed to get worse and he just wasn’t in a good enough physical shape to fight for the medal coming in fifth.

Having heard Joaquims sensational score I actually felt no pressure, I had to go all out to stand any chance of beating him so it was very enjoyable to try my hardest. Unfortunately I didn’t get enough magic in my rides to get Gold so fell a little short getting the Bronze Medal 30 points behind Sebastian.

This meant of course that Joaquim Fontane from Spain last Europeans Junior Champion in his first senior year became the Mens European Champion bringing the second Gold medal of the event to Spain!

It was the toughest final I ever competed in actually and despite not winning was one of the most fun to be a part of. The standard of the Europeans raised a lot since 2 years ago and its no longer a fight between me, Peter and Mathieu anymore its 5,6 or 7 paddlers who are all capable of winning. It does look like a real sport now, you have to be on top of your technical, mental and physical shape and have some magic going on in your ride to win now.

For me its a good enough result to be happy with but sh*t enough to get me motivated for taking my kayaking on a new level.

A great results for GB as a team, a big well done especially to Bren and the Junior boys!


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About James Bebbington

2011 ICF World Freestyle Kayak Champion & 2011 ICF World Cup Freestyle Kayak Champion Passionate about Kayaking, Travel, Nature, Dreams, Raw Food & the Beauty of Life. Don't give up on your dreams, listen to your heart!
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