Kinross' Eilidh Gibson paddles to World Championship gold

Kinross canoeist Eilidh Gibson'¨completed a golden hat-trick on the opening morning of the World Slalom Championships in Pau, south-west France yesterday, while her training partner and fellow Scot David Florence added a silver medal to his three previous world titles.

Eilidh Gibson helped Great Britain to team gold. Picture: Harry Hubbard/Getty Images

Gibson and her Great Britain team-mates Mallory Franklin and Kim Woods had dominated the C1 team event at this summer’s European Championships and World Under-23 Championships, and they 
fully justified their status as gold medal favourites.

A single clipped gate and a two-second time penalty would have scuppered their chances, but the British trio held their nerve to beat 
runners-up Australia by 1.65 seconds with the Czech Republic a distant third.

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Gibson said: “We just had to be super-disciplined around the gates. We’d already won everything else, but we hadn’t won a senior World Championship title yet, so we had that at the back of our minds. We tried to be as focused as possible and we knew we were capable of winning it, although five or six other teams probably felt the same way. Mallory had a small mistake but the rest of the run was very clean.

Gibson, who goes again in today’s individual C1 heats, added: “I was super-happy with the way I paddled. I was really smooth and controlled, and it gives me confidence for the rest of the week.”

Florence will attempt to retain his individual C1 title later this week, and yesterday’s team silver with Adam Burgess and Ryan Westley was a timely morale-booster following a disappointing summer on the World Cup circuit.

Defending champions Slovakia finished three seconds clear as Britain pipped France for second. Florence said: “It’s definitely nice to start the week so well, and it vindicates all the training we’ve done here over the summer,” said Florence.

“We had a really good run and were pretty much spot on the whole way. We had a strong team on paper, but not as strong as the Slovaks. They’ve won it about nine times in a row, so they’re tough to beat. We’re pleased to be on the podium.”

In yesterday’s other team finals, Roslin’s Bradley Forbes-Cryans helped GB to 11th in the K1 kayak class, while a missed gate and a 50-second penalty relegated Crieff’s Fiona Pennie from third to 16th in the women’s K1. Pennie said: “The penalty was given to Kim [Woods], who was our middle boat.

“There was only one judge per gate and neither of the video cameras were on her, so there was no evidence except for our own team video which can’t be officially used. Our protest was rejected.”