Published on July 10th, 2022 | by Paddleworld
23-year-old Slovak paddler Eliska Mintalova was in tears after turning her luck around to win an exciting women’s U23 kayak final at the 2022 ICF Junior and U23 Canoe Slalom World Championships in Ivrea, Italy.
This was the first individual title in the U23 age group for the reigning senior European
Champion. Anatole Delasuss was the best in men’s U23 K1, while junior world champion
titles in men’s and women’s canoe went to Australian Mark Crosbee and Slovak Zuzana
Exactly one year ago Eliska Mintalova suffered a broken toe just before the Olympic Games
in Tokyo. The luck she lacked a year ago was working in her favour on Friday when the
women’s K1 U23 final was on the programme of the 2022 ICF Junior and U23 Canoe Slalom
But the luck actually was not even needed as Mintalova produced an excellent run and won
with more than three seconds advantage over Emma Vuitton from France. Vuitton
successfully switched from junior category, where she finished second at last year’s junior
World Championships, to U23 age group. Bronze medal went to Andorra thanks to Monica
“It is amazing. This is my first title in the U23. It’s very good,” Mintalova said as tears of joy were running down her cheeks.
“I broke a toe last year in Tokyo on this day, but now it is much better because I have a
medal. I am so happy. I have had a very good season and I love this course and I love when the course is technical, because it is better for me.
“I will take maybe four days off and then we will go to Augsburg.”
French kayaker Anatole Delasuss became the U23 World Champion after a superb final run. Despite two penalty seconds he picked up in the gate six none of the competitors that were still at the start line managed to improve his result.
Winner of the semi-final Felix Oschmautz was trying hard, but concluded the race 0.32 seconds behind in second place.
Great Britain’s Jonny Dickson won the bronze medal.
Delasuss, who had a medal in junior kayak event here in Ivrea in 2018 when the Junior and U23 Canoe Slalom World Championships was last held on this venue, and was also the 2019 Junior World and European Champion, was very excited after the race.
“It was a good final run. I am very glad about it,” he said.
“I had one touch, so I was not sure it will be a win. It was very tight with Felix but it was ok
at the end.”
The pool of athletes who are in the game for winning the medals is increasing every time and the competition is becoming fiercer. Athletes from eight nations and three continents were qualified for the men’s U23 K1 final as well as in men’s junior C1 final.
Australian Mark Crosbee celebrated the Junior C1 world champion title with a penalty free
run. Two Czech canoeists, Michal Urban and Lukas Kratochvil, joined him on the winner’s
“I think it will take a few days for it to sink in but it feels pretty special,” Crosbee said.
“It was a very tricky, technical course. It was a shame to see so many mistakes, it was a really tough course.”
The women’s junior C1 final offered some drama as all the finalists made mistakes along the
course. None of the ten athletes was able to navigate through the gates without penalties.
As the start of the last three athletes was approaching there was a lot of tension who will be the best at the end. One of the main favourites, Zuzana Pankova from Slovakia, who was the winner of heats and was third in the semi-final – made a mistake in the upstream gate 18 and lost a lot of precious time, however she still took the lead.
Klara Kneblova, the defending champion from last year’s junior world championships, was
second in the semi-final but made a mistake that pushed her out of the podium.
At the end, the winner of the semi-final Evy Leibfarth was really fast on the course and it
looked set to take the gold medal, until the last gate, where she did a big mistake, got 50
seconds penalty and dreams of the medal were washed away.
Zuzana Pankova won the second gold medal of the day for Slovakia, Spain’s Nora Lopez
finished second in junior C1 final, and German Lucie Krech was third.
“The final run did not go according to my plan. I hoped it will be enough for the medal, but I
did not expect the gold,” Pankova said.
“I cannot go like this. I have to get there and put my best in,” she told herself after her mistake.
On Saturday, the U23 men’s and women’s canoe semi-final and final, and junior kayak (men’s and women’s) semi-final and final are on the program.
MEN’S U23 K1
1. Anatole Delasuss FRA 80.31 (2 seconds of penalties)
2. Felix Oschmautz AUT 80.63 (0)
3. Jonny Dickson GBR 80.90 (0)
WOMEN’S U23 K1
1. Eliska Mintalova SVK 90.51 (0)
2. Emma Vuitton FRA 93.55 (0)
3. Monica Doria Vilarrubla AND 93.61 (0)
MEN’S JUNIOR C1
1. Mark Crosbee AUS 91.19 (0)
2. Michal Urban CZE 91.54 (2)
3. Lukas Kratochvil CZE (0)
WOMEN’S JUNIOR C1
1. Zuzana Pankova SVK 105.06 (2)
2. Nora Lopez ESP 108.80 (2)
3. Lucie Krech GER 110.30 (2)