This weekend, Nottingham hosted the 2022 BUCS Canoe Slalom Competition at the National Watersports Centre at Holme Pierrepont Country Park.
Canoe Slalom is an exciting white water paddlesport where competitors navigate their way through a series of gates suspended over the river whilst paddling through challenging white water rapids, in as quick a time as possible. Green gates are travelled through in a downstream direction and red gates are travelled through in an upstream direction. These gates are set in a sequence that forces competitors to use the river’s features to be able to navigate through them. A 2 second penalty, and 50 seconds added for missing a gate.
Five athletes represented NTU competing in 6 out of 7 of the events. On Saturday where a cold wind set a wintery tone, the Kayak Men and Canoe Women competed for the title. In the afternoon the Mixed Team event also took place.
Eren Yalkin raced well for NTU and placed 5th in the Kayak Mens class, with Robert Fernie finishing close behind in 7th.
In the Mixed team event, where teams of three boats navigate the course together, Gabi Ridge, Rob Fernie and Zach Pearson took the Silver Medal for NTU. They posted the fastest run time but picked up 6 seconds of penalties which pushed them down into 2nd place.
On Sunday the Kayak Women, Canoe Men and Canoe Men Doubles events were the order of the morning with the Open Team’s event in the afternoon.
In the K1 Women event, Gabi Ridge, a former GBR Team athlete placed 7th with two solid performances. Kerry Christie, who has a number of European Championship medals in the Wild Water Racing discipline, put her slalom skills to the test and raced her way to 19th place.
In the Canoe Men, Robert Fernie was on the podium again taking another Silver medal, just 0.64 seconds of the Gold! A costly 2 second penalty for Zach Pearson saw him drop from 2nd to respectable 4th place.
Zach and Rob then raced together in the Canoe Men Doubles event, and this time Zach joined Rob on the podium taking another Silver medal home with them!
Eren, Rob and Zach then teamed up for the final action of the weekend, the Open Teams event. A solid performance from the boys placed them on the podium again with yet another Silver Medal winning performance!
The event was made possible by every university working together with a number of volunteers from each helping the organisers and the British Canoeing Slalom Committee with the runnings of the event. It was great to see everyone chipping in together to make it happen.
Eren, Gabi and I were judging the last two gates of the course on Sunday where the toughest section of the rapids lead to a number of paddlers capsizing and here we got to see what a great job the safety team volunteers were doing, working hard all weekend to make sure any of the competitors who capsized were quickly assisted onto the river bank with their boats and paddles.
All in all a great event with 4 Silver medals for Nottingham Trent University to take home. Well done Team!