The 2012 European Freestyle Kayaking Championships have just taken place in a spectacular setting, deep in the Austrian Alps in the small town of Lienz. Over 130 freestyle athletes from across Europe came together to compete in the feisty hole to fight for the European Championship titles.
The event kicked of with the opening ceremony at the Lienz castle where the organizers and officials from the town welcomed all the athletes and wished them good luck for the event.
Over the course of 5 days all the competitors took it in turn to have their chance to showcase their best paddling to the judges in order to earn their place in the finals.
The finals kicked off with the top 5 paddlers in each category having 3 rides in which to lay down their biggest and best moves. The standard was set high and the competition was fierce with World, European and National Champions battling it out. The finals consisted of paddlers from all across Europe and was a great showcase of how far the sport of freestyle kayaking has come. By the end of Saturday, the eight 2012 European Champions had been named Joquim Fontane (K1M – ESP), Marlene Devillez (K1W – FRA), Lukas Cervinka (C1 – CZE), Bren Orton (Jnr M – GBR), Nuria Fontane (Jnr L – ESP), Ben Aldred (Sq M – GBR), Claire O’Hara (Sq W – GBR) and Philipp Hitzigrath (OC1 – GER).
Congratulations to all the paddlers who competed and thanks to everyone involved in making this such a great event.
For team GB it was another successful event. The team all trained hard and paddled well on this exceptionally challenging feature. With the help of GB coaches Dennis Newton and Sam Ward and Physio Catherine Warren and under the watchful eye of team managers Dave Newport and Tim Ward and a host of supporters, family and friends 11 GB athletes made it in to the finals, winning 7 European Medals. 3 Golds – Claire O’ (SqW), Ben Aldred (Sq M) and Bren Orton (Jnr M), 1 Silver – James Benns (Jnr M), and 3 Bronze – James Bebbington (M), Paul King (OC1) and Sam Stephenson (Jnr M).
Congratulations to our new European Champions Claire O’Hara (Sq W), Ben Aldred (Sq M) and Bren Orton (Jnr M).
Well done Team GB!