Tauranga's Jack Egan joined a select group of New Zealand paddlers overnight, finishing ninth in the under-18 C1 final at the ICF junior and U23 canoe slalom world championships in Krakow, Poland.
The 17-year-old Aquinas College student was the eighth-fastest qualifier after a superb semifinal, clocking 99.96secs to be just 2.82secs off the leading paddlers. He couldn't match that run in the final, however, collecting two 2sec touches in a 111.10sec effort, putting him 12.63secs behind winner Nejc Polencic of France.
It was only the seventh time a New Zealander has made the junior final at a world championships and the first in the C1 class.
Jack's effort highlighted another solid day from the Kiwi contingent, with Auckland's Hannah Thomas also performing well, finishing 18th in her junior K1 semifinal, less than 5secs off making the final.
Pukehina's Oliver Puchner was 24th in his junior C1 semifinal, while Kensa Randle was 27th in her under-23 K1 semifinal.
Czech padder Amalie Hilgertova added to the European senior title she won at the start of the season by winning the under-23 K1 final. She kept her cool on the challenging Krakow course to post a winning time of 95.22. Polish paddler Klaudia Zwolinska was second in 95.76, which included a two-second penalty.
Fellow Czech Antonie Galuskova celebrated her final year in the junior class with a win in the K1, despite a gate touch and being lucky to scrape into the final in 10th position. Antonie finished with 100.91, with Slovenia’s Eva Alina Hocevar second in 102.00. 15-year-old American Evy Leibfarth continued her dream year with a bronze medal in 102.35, although 6secs' worth of penalties kept Leibfarth of the top of the podium.
France’s Nicolas Gestin won the men’s under-23 C1 title in just his first year in the division, with the 19-year-old adding to the bronze medal he won in last year's junior world championships.
Action continues tonight with Kiwis Jack Dangen and Callum Gilbert in action in the under-23 K1 semifinal, Hannah in the junior C1 semifinal and Oliver in the junior K1 semifinal.
NZ finalists at world championship level:
U18: Zack Mutton (K1: 5th, 2018), Zack Mutton (K1: 8th, 2017), Daniel Munro/Luke Robinson (C2: 2nd, 2014), Callum Gilbert (K1: 8th, 2014), Mike Dawson (K1 9th, 2004), River Mutton (extreme: 3rd 2018), Jack Egan (C1: 9th 2019).
U23: Finn Butcher (K1: 4th, 2018), Jane Nicholas/Haylee Dangen/Kelly Travers (C1 teams: 3rd 2014).
Open: Luuka Jones (K1: 4th, 2017), Donald Johnstone (K1: 5th, 1987), Mike Dawson (K1: 7th, 2017), Luuka Jones (K1: 7th, 2018).