European Championship for juniors and competitors under 23 in water slalom, July 23, 2023, Bratislava. Gabriela Satková.
Bratislava – Canoeist Gabriela Satková defended the title among female under-23 competitors at the European Water Slalom Championship. The winner of last year's championship in České Budějovice, Vojtěch Heger, added silver in the same category on the channel in Bratislava's Čunov. Among the juniors, Filip Jiras won gold, and Lukáš Kratochvíl underlined the success of the Czech representatives with bronze. In the junior kayak cross, Barbora Galušková added gold at the end of the program, Lukáš Kratochvíl won silver.
Satková, who holds the title of European adult champion from 2020, managed the final as opposed to the semi-final race clean and as the only one of the competitors she got under 100 seconds. Eva Říhová finished fifth, Tereza Kneblová eighth.
Satková coped with the difficult course excellently. “I was actually looking at the finish line when I saw 99, it was completely unbelievable to me and I don't understand what happened. Some kind of quick spirit got into my body and it went behind me because I can't believe it,” she said in a recording for the media. “As nervous as I was before the ride, I didn't believe that it would work. But I went piece by piece, combination after combination, I kept an eye on it and told myself that the goal was at the finish line, and I concentrated and I think that was the key,” she added.
Heger lost in the final only to the Frenchman Yohann Senechault, behind whom he was 1.27 seconds behind, but he won a medal for the fourth time in a row at the 23-year-old championship. He improved his balance to two golds and two silvers. Martin Kratochvíl finished just behind the podium in fourth place, one touch of the goal deprived him of the silver in the fight with the clean-riding medalists. Michal Urban took 9th place.
Immediately after the finish, Heger seemed a little disappointed. “I had mistakes in that ride, the loss to the French was not like that again and I knew where I left it, which makes it all the more regrettable,” he said. “But that doesn't matter, I'm glad to have at least the silver. After this season, it's such a satisfaction,” he added.
Czech canoeists clearly dominated the junior race. Tomáš Větrovský finished fourth behind the golden Jiras and the bronze Kratochvíl, whose chance for the title was denied by three touches of goals. Only the junior girls came out empty-handed. Although Valentýna Kočířová was in first place after the finish line, an additional penalty for not passing the goal pushed her down to seventh place. Natálie Erlová was ranked tenth after three “fifties” for the last three goals.