Youngsters prove future is bright at Europeans

31 May 2014 / 22:16

Youth shone for Great Britain on day two of the canoe slalom European Championships in Vienna as Eilidh Gibson, Ryan Westley and Joe Clarke all made their respective finals.

Gibson, a newcomer to the senior squad, particularly caught the eye as she soared through the heats to finish fifth in her first C1 final.

And the 18-year-old Scot admits she has learned from the best in her short time in and among Great Britain’s veterans.

“I don't really think that I can believe it yet, but I'm so happy, totally delighted,” she said.

“It's amazing to be competing with all the girls who are really good competitors.

“I can learn lots from them and hopefully in years to come be up there competing with them regularly.  It gives me a lot of confidence.”

Westley, 20, made waves on Friday by finishing as the second-fastest qualifier in the C1 heats – and such was his confidence he concedes a tenth-place finish in the final was disappointing.

“Every time I go out there I want to deliver a good run,” said Westley.  “Regardless of results you want to have enjoyed what you have done and it would have been nicer to have delivered nearer to my potential.

“But I’m pretty pleased to have made the final in my first senior championships. It’s great to see my name there amongst the people that I have looked up to and followed through races.”

Clarke, 21, lodged a successful protest to overturn a two-second penalty to make the K1 final, and he insists he is getting used to the feeling of competing with the best after placing 11th.

“It's my third senior championships and my third senior championships final,” he said. 

“Last year was my first year on the senior team and I finished thirteenth at the Europeans and sixth in the Worlds.

 “Today my time was quick enough for bronze but the three touches in the final run cost me. 

“But I'm only 21 so it is good to build on it, it's the second year of the cycle so I'm learning from it and coming back stronger each time.”

Elsewhere, world champion Richard Hounslow missed out on the K1 final after the slightest of errors while David Florence and Mallory Franklin failed to progress to the C1 final.

On Sunday plenty more action is in store as Fiona Pennie will attempt to defend her K1 title, while Florence and Hounslow will team up for the C2.

© Sportsbeat 2014