The first race of the 2021 ICF World Cup series took place in Prague from the 11th-13th June. Ireland once again fielded a strong team, with a mix of athletes continuing their season from the European Championships in May, and some paddlers getting onto their first start line of 2021. The racing itself provided a difficult weekend for the Irish Team, with competitions held on the course in Prague being renowned for extremely tight margins and competitive racing.
Starting the racing off for the team was Madison Corcoran (K1W) who showed some more promise, with 2 good runs in the qualification round, with only a 2 second penalty keeping her from progressing to the semi final, placing in 34th position overall. In the always challenging K1M Noel Hendrick, Alistair McCreery and Oisin Farrell narrowly missed progression to the semi final. Noel Hendrick had a quick and clean first run, coming close to a semi final spot, with penalties on his second run seeing him miss out. Alistair McCreery was the highest placed of the Irish, finishing in 50th, with Oisin Farrell putting in a very solid second run on his first international outing for 2021, finishing in 55th.
For the C1’s Irelands only female competitor, Michaela Corcoran, fell victim to the tight course set in Prague. Penalties incurred on both runs saw her miss the semi final, finishing in 41st. On the Mens side it was Jake Cochrane who shone, producing two fast runs, with the second seeing him qualify through to the semi final. On an extremely hard semi-final course Jake took a 50 second penalty, dropping him down the finishing order. Liam Jegou had an unfortunate race, being disqualified on his first run for equipment issues, with his second run placing him in 32nd, agonisingly close to the semi-final. Ireland’s other 2021 debutant, James Gibbons, improved from a difficult first run to finish in 42nd for the event.
Alistair McCreery also represented Ireland in the Extreme Slalom event. After qualifying through the time trial event Alistair finished 3rd in his heat, just missing the next round.
Next weekend will see some more Canoe Slalom action with race 2 of the ICF World Cup in Markkleeberg Germany, 18th-20th June.