National Olympic Qualifiers: Surprises in Pau

The first day of the French National Selection for Olympic qualifications concluded today on the whitewater course in Pau, France. It was a day filled with surprises as some of the slalom’s biggest names were outshone by their less known and less experienced teammates.

Surprise winner C1's Jonathan Marc (FRA)
Surprise winner C1's Jonathan Marc (FRA)

By far the biggest surprise was the elimination of Men’s K1 double Olympic medallist and former world champion Fabien Lefevre who acquired a 50 second penalty on his run. The Final was won by Boris Neveu who came in ahead of the 2007 world champion Sébastien Combot.

In the Men’s C1 event Jonathan Marc has taken the lead in the race for Olympic qualification ahead of current C1 world champion Denis Gargaud and Olympic gold medallist and multiple world champion Tony Estanguet; Gargaud finished in 2nd and Estanguet in 6th place. Denis Gargaud had a solid race but a 2 second penalty places him behind the surprise winner of the event Jonathan MARC. Local favourite Tony Estanguet finished last in the final, after receiving a 50 second penalty for not passing a gate properly.

Today was the first of three trial events for K1 & C1 Olympic qualification. The second leg of the qualifications will take place tomorrow morning. For some athletes the focus will be to get back into the competition and for others it will be to deliver a winning performance that will secure their ticket to London 2012. Tomorrow will also see action in the Women’s K1 and Men’s C2 categories.

The race for qualification is not over yet and there may yet be some more surprises in store.

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