David Florence admitted he was quietly confident an historic Canoe Slalom World Championship gold medal was his well before it was officially secured in Prague.
Florence, an Olympic silver medallist in the C1 from Beijing 2008 and the C2 from London 2012 last summer, was the third off from the ten competitors in the C1 final.
The 31-year-old incurred a two-second penalty for a time of 102.53seconds from his run but his emotions after crossing the finishing line demonstrated his confidence.
And, after a long wait as the rest of the field completed their runs, Florence’s self-belief was confirmed with Alexander Slafkovsky the second best with 103.36.
Benjamin Savsek took third with 105.79 with Florence, who still has the C2 to come with Richard Hounslow, becoming the first ever Brit to win the C1 title at the World Championships.
Florence is also the first Brit since Lynn Simpson in the women’s K1 in 1995 to win an individual canoe slalom World Championship title and is revelling his new status in Prague.
“I crossed the line and knew I had to put in a really good time,” said Florence, who was one of two British medallists after Mallory Franklin’s silver in the non-Olympic women’s C1.
“I had hung on to a good run all the way down and finished off very strongly which is what has perhaps cost me a couple of races in the last year.
“I had to sit and wait though I knew I was in with a very, very good chance of a medal, or a good chance of maybe even holding on for the win, as I watched the next seven guys come down.
“Any canoe slalom race is tough to win, even if you are in great form. I knew I was in great form coming into it but you can still put in a great run and end up fourth.
“We’ve never won C1 in the World Championships before so it’s always nice to make a bit of history. Within the sport being world champion is absolutely massive and to be able to say I’m world champion is amazing.”
© Sportsbeat 2013