The last day of the 2021 ECA Canoe Slalom European Championships in Ivrea brought an exciting races and tension until the very last minute of the race. Spain's Miren Lazkano took the gold medal in women's canoe event, while Olympic Champion Denis Gargaud Chanut claimed gold in men's canoe final. Katerina Minarik Kudejova and Vit Prindiš are the first ever Extreme Canoe Slalom European Champions.
The new European Champion in women's canoe Miren Lazkano capsized before the third gate, but that did not throw her out of the game as she continued with strong pace to win her first individual medal at senior European Championships, and her first gold medal. So far, she won a silver and bronze medal in team events. Paddler from San Sebastian was 0.36 seconds faster than Czech Tereza Fišerova, while German Elena Apel took the bronze medal.
Miren Lazkano cried after she realised what she has achieved, "I was not expecting this at all. I rolled over in third gate, but then I thought it's now or never. I found strength and went for it. I am really happy and relieved. I have to thank everyone who helped me."
On the very technical and demanding course French canoeist Denis Gargaud Chanut showed the best final run to celebrate European Champion title, the only title missing in his collection until now. He is the 2016 Olympic Champion and 2011 World Champion. At first when he crossed the finish line a 50 seconds penalty was by his name, and he waved in disapproval. Soon after the penalty was removed and he remained in the top position until the end of the race.
"Finally I won all three big titles in our sport, so I am very satisfied with that. But that doesn't mean I will lose my energy to win again, so I am looking forward to the next races," said Denis Gargaud Chanut.
Slovak Matej Benuš won silver medal and secured himself a ticket for Tokyo Olympics in internal Slovak qualifications, while German Sideris Tasiadis picked up bronze medal and equally important won an Olympic quota for Germany.
This Championships was also European Olympic qualifier and it was Slovakia who won a quota for Tokyo Olympics in women's canoe thanks to Monika Škachova. Even more intense was the fight for men's C1 quota between Italy and Germany. Two Italian and two German canoeists qualified for the final, with Roberto Colazingari setting the best time in the semifinal, so he started the last in the final. Sideris Tasiadis was at that moment in front of Italian Raffaello Ivaldi, so it was either Tasiadis or Colazingari. The latter did not manage to handle the pressure on home course and was ninth at the end.
After the canoe slalom championships was over, athletes started in the Extreme Canoe Slalom race, the first ever European Championships held in this discipline. Extreme Canoe Slalom was introduced to the European Championships programme this year after it was confirmed it will be a part of the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. The most successful team of the event was Czech team. Katerina Minarik Kudejova won a gold medal in women's event ahead of Austrian Corinna Kuhnle, this year's K1 women European Champion, and another Czech paddler Veronika Vojtova was third.
Vit Prindiš won his second European Champion title of the week, following his K1 gold in yesterday's final. Dmitri Marx from Switzerland was second and 2016 Olympic champion Joseph Clarke from Great Britain was third.
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