Junior worlds next for rising kayaker

Photo by Jamie TroughtonDscribe Media Services
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New Zealand kayaker Callum Gilbert finished 29th in the latest round of the ICF canoe slalom World Cup of the season in France overnight. Photo by Glenys Travers Photography.

Callum Gilbert has immediately reset his sights on canoe slalom’s junior world championships, after another top-30 finish on the ICF World Cup series.

The 20-year-old Bay of Plenty paddler finished 29th in the semifinals of the latest round in Pau, France, overnight, with two 2sec touches keeping him out of finals contention after posting a time of 105.66secs.

It was Gilbert’s fourth semifinal appearance of his young career, although three of them have come in the first three rounds this season, giving him an ideal lead-in to next month’s junior worlds in Poland.

“I’ll be looking to work on a few of the areas I was lacking in the World Cups but trying to maintain that consistency,” Gilbert said. “If i can keep paddling the way I am currently, I’ll be in with a shot at the final in Krakow – though I’ll definitely need to lay down a good performance to get through.”

Gilbert, fellow K1 paddler Finn Butcher and C1 paddlers Kelly Travers, Anna Higgins and Patrick Washer are the other under-23 paddlers to have been racing the World Cup rounds – they now have a two-week training camp in Pau before linking with the rest of the New Zealand team in Krakow.

Olympic-bound Luuka Jones, meanwhile, races her K1 semifinal in the women’s division later tonight.

Last night’s finals were dominated by Europeans, with Spain’s Samuel Hernanz winning the K1 men, Slovakia’s Alexander Slafkovsky’s collecting his second C1 victory in two weeks and Britain’s Mallory Franklin – a European for the next few days at least – winning the women’s C1 final.

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