OTTAWA, ONTARIO (August 6, 2017) – Local athletes took advantage of an intimate knowledge of the challenging Pumphouse course to win gold in three of the open age events at today’s Whitewater National Slalom Championships in downtown Ottawa.
“Home course advantage is a huge deal in slalom paddling,” said James Cartwright, Canoe Kayak Canada’s High Performance Manager. “The Ottawa athletes train on this course. They know every inch of it. It gave them an extra technical edge and some added confidence and I think they took full advantage today.”
Ottawa’s Cameron Smedley was the most dominant performer of the day, confirming his status as Canada’s top male slalom paddler, winning gold in the Men’s C-1 as well as the top spot in the Mixed C-2 alongside sister, Alison.
Also on the local front, the Men’s K-1 featured a surprise champion in 34-year-old, John Hastings who beat out five other Ottawa paddlers despite retiring from the National Slalom Team to focus on preparations for the upcoming Extreme Slalom World Championships. Hastings’ victory, along with the dual titles by the Smedleys, helped Ontario capture the Brian Creer Cup, an award given annually to the top province at the National Championships.
Breaking the trend of local winners were Haley Daniels (Calgary, AB) in the Women’s C-1 and Florence Maheu (Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, QC) in the Women’s K-1. Daniels’ national title continues a successful year where she produced a personal best sixth-place-finish in the Extreme Slalom on the World Cup circuit earlier this summer. Maheu, who finished 10th in that same World Cup event, beat out Ottawa’s Lois Betteridge and Daniels to take home the K-1 crown.
Cartwright noted that the National Championships have changed dramatically in the past few years. State-of-the-art timing technology – a legacy from the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto – have elevated the competition experience to something much closer to what athletes will find on the world stage, he added.
“We’ve come incredibly far in terms of how we run these events,” said Cartwright. “Everything is so much closer to the international standard. It gives our best athletes a valuable opportunity to prepare for what they’re likely to experience at major international events.”
This weekend’s event also serves as a vital tune up for those athletes competing in World Cup events later this month in Europe, followed by the World Championships in Pau, France in September.
Click here for more information on the Whitewater Slalom National Championships.
About Canoe Kayak Canada
Canoe Kayak Canada is the national governing body for competitive paddling in Canada, one of Canada’s top performing summer sports with a total of 24 Olympic medals, and a leader in the Paralympic movement. Canoe Kayak Canada is a member-based organization that includes an intricate network of clubs as well as provincial, territorial and divisional paddling associations. Elite National Team athletes proudly represent Canada at various competitions around the globe – most notably the Olympic Games, Paralympic Games, Pan American Games, ICF World Cups as well as Junior, Under 23 and Senior World Championships. Follow Canoe Kayak Canada on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
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