Kelly Travers showed Luuka Jones she’s got a C1 fight on her hands, upstaging the Rio Olympian at canoe slalom’s New Zealand Open near Palmerston North today.
Travers took out the C1 (canoe) final on a wet and windy Mangahao River course by more than 7secs, preventing Jones from completing a notable double after earlier winning the K1 (kayak) final.
Despite picking up four penalty touches, Travers clocked 134.82secs for her final run. Jones was second with 142.09, while Australian Alison Borrows missed a gate, costing her 50secs, eventually clocking 184.61 for fifth.
After winning K1 silver in Rio last year, Jones has added C1 to her training and racing programme and 23-year-old Travers admits she’s relishing their upcoming battles.
“It’s definitely good to have a little bit of added competition and puts some added pressure on,” Travers said. “She’s one of the best in the world in K1 and transferring over to C1 appears to work quite well for her. It’s good for me to scale myself against her and is only going to keep pushing me forward.”
The New Zealand Open was the first of two big weeks for the sport, capped by next weekend’s Oceania Championships in Auckland at the new Vector Wero Whitewater Park.
Earlier, Jones had picked up just one touch in a dominant K1 final display, clocking 109.75, with Frenchwoman Camille Prigent second in 114.11 and Amber Maslen (Great Britain) third in 119.53.
Another Olympian, Australian Lucien Delfour, took out the men’s K1 final with a clean 96.44sec run, just 0.08secs ahead of Martin Dougoud (Switzerland). Mike Dawson was the best Kiwi in fifth, hitting two gates at the bottom of the course to finish 4.64secs behind the winner.
It was a confidence-booster for Delfour, two weeks after being pipped in the final of the Australian championships, putting him in a good space before next weekend’s Oceania championships.
“I’m still trying to get my fitness back to where it was before and it’s taking a little while,” Delfour said. “There’s work to be done before next weekend but I was definitely happy with the win.”
Thibault Blaise (France) won the C1 men’s final, meanwhile, 2.26secs ahead of Australian Ian Borrows, with Ben Gibb the leading New Zealander in third.
K1: Lucien Delfour (Australia) 96.44 1, Martin Dougoud (Switzerland) 96.52 2, Michal Smolen (United States) 98.63 3, Pierre Bourliaud (France) 100.17 4, Mike Dawson (New Zealand) 101.08 5.
C1: Thibault Blaise (France) 107.83 1, Ian Borrows (Australia) 110.09 2, Ben Gibb (New Zealand) 110.50 3, Patrick Washer (New Zealand) 117.00 4, Shaun Higgins (New Zealand) 119.85 5.
K1: Luuka Jones (New Zealand) 109.75 1, Camille Prigent (France) 114.11 2, Amber Maslen (Great Britain) 119.53 3, Courtney Williams (New Zealand) 121.28 4, Jane Nicholas (New Zealand) 123.43 5.
C1: Kelly Travers (New Zealand) 134.82 1, Luuka Jones (New Zealand) 142.09 2, Jane Nicholas (New Zealand) 144.23 3, Haylee Dangen (New Zealand) 153.31 4, Alison Borrows (Australia) 184.61 5.
See full results here