Paddling stops at Quarters for Thompson

26 Aug 2014

Thompson places second in quarters ©

CANOE/KAYAK: Sydneysider Angus Thompson has missed out on a semi-finals berth after a narrow defeat in the K1 Obstacle Slalom, at the Lake Rowing and Canoeing Venue of the Youth Olympic Games.

A slalom specialist, Thompson, was disappointed not to progress to the semi-finals tomorrow, after competing in the sudden death quarterfinals, but pleased with his performance overall.

“I am feeling a bit a bit disappointed. It was a big task overcoming the top qualifier but I was happy with my performance. He was good on his run and I was good on my run,” the 17-year-old said.

Advancing to the quarterfinal after finishing fifth in the round of 16, Thompson met Junior World Champion Jakub Grigar of Slovakia, who had finished first in the previous race in a time five seconds faster than Thompson.

“He is a two time junior World Champion, so pretty decent and he would have been one to beat in the finals so I was really trying to avoid versing him,” the Turramurra local said.

In a competition which sees first versus fifth, second versus sixth and so on in the quarterfinals, Thompson was unlucky to come up against his Slovakian mate.

“But I was happy versing him, he is a good mate of mine and so we were laughing a bit.”

Thompson and Grigar contested a head to head race, sliding down a steep ramp, before paddling around buoys in a figure of eight and completing an Eskimo roll at the half way point.

“It is a bit of a blur - sitting on top of the ramp is pretty cool, you have the crowd on the right side and the course looking out in front of you,” the aspiring athlete said.

“At the start, a lot of nerves are going through, you can’t stop thinking about the what if’s. It was fun going down ramp, it is really fast, you hit the water, get a big launch and from then on it is agonising pain.”

Thompson pulled out the big guns and was racing neck to neck with Grigar before entering a holding area, where he had to complete an Eskimo roll.

“I hadn’t practiced [the Eskimo roll] so much. It was a new technique. I went over nicely but I got stuck underneath the water and my paddle did not come up quite nicely, which is probably where I lost a bit of time.”

Finishing just a few seconds behind Grigar, Thompson can be proud of his performance in the K1 Obstacle.

“I got a 1.12 in my very first run, and then a 1.10 in my second run and they were without rolls and then I got a 1.13 just then with the roll. Without the roll I probably would have beaten my other time.”

The St Ignatius College, Riverview student has enjoyed the Youth Olympic Games experience as well as the different sport format for Canoe/Kayak.

“It has been great. I have learnt a lot from this – so much experience coming here. That pressure from the start line – I will take that way.”

Showing true strength of character, Thompson is already planning a come back and hopes to beat his friend and foe next year.

“From here, I will keep on training for Junior Worlds next year. Hopefully I can come up against Jakub in the final and pip him there.”

Frances Cordaro