Exciting Canadian teenager Sophia Jensen has once again underlined her incredible talent with two strong performances on the opening day of competition at the 2019 ICF junior and U23 canoe sprint world championships in Pitesti, Romania.
Also impressive on Thursday were Germany’s defending U23 C1 1000 gold medalist, Conrad Schreibner, Cuba’s canoe prodigy Jose Cordova, and Australia’s Tom Green in the K1 1000 and teammates Jean Van Der Westhuyzen and Jackson Collins in the K2 1000.
17-year-old Jensen picked up three gold medals at her junior world championships debut in Bulgaria in 2018, and was impressive again on Thursday when she qualified straight through to the finals of both the junior C1 200 and C1 500.
“I was really stressed on the start line, I don’t think I have ever been so stressed in all my life,” Jensen said.
“It’s weirder being the defending champion I guess, I’ve never really had that experience, so that was really stressful.”
18-year-old Cordova caused a major boilover when he won C1 1000 gold at the opening ICF world cup this year, and had little trouble in his junior heat on Thursday, posting a time more than four seconds quicker than the next best.
Hungary’s Anna Lucz was the fastest on the water in the women’s K1 200, qualifying straight through to the final.
“I’m quite happy, but I was really nervous before the race. The first race is always so nervous for me,” Lucz said.
“I’m glad that I’m over it. I think I’m in good shape, and I’m also going to the senior world championships, which I’m really excited about.”
Also impressive on Thursday was Russia’s reigning C1 500 world champion, Kseniia Kurach, who appreciated the drop back in distance to qualify easily for the final in the U23 C1 200.
“The race wasn’t hard, but it wasn’t easy,” Kurach said.
“It’s my first race for the year in 200 metres in international competition. I feel a little pressure. I’m world champion in the 500, but I need to win the 200 metres.”