Ricarda Funk won the battle of nerves in the Augsburg ice channel. Immediately after crossing the finish line, the Olympic kayak champion clapped her hands and screamed her joy. On her home course, the Bad Kreuznacher defended her canoe slalom world title with an incredible energy performance. During the national anthem, Funk fought back tears in front of a full house.
Before the eyes of IOC President Thomas Bach, the 30-year-old defeated the eight-time individual world champion Jessica Fox from Australia by 1.31 seconds after being a second behind halfway through the course. On the podium, she celebrated with her teammate Elena Lilik, who came in third despite touching the pole and the two penalty seconds that went with it.
Funk with all its routine and power
As the fastest in the semifinals, Funk started the race as the last starter. At the time, Fox had even beaten their already terrific semi-final best time. “I heard something, but I wasn’t sure. But I didn’t care what happened before. I just wanted to get my race down,” said Funk. But that wasn’t so easy, because she already scored the first goal differently than planned. “The boat almost ran out to the right,” said Funk, describing the tricky situation. But that was the only moment of shock. “After that I was in the flow,” said Funk.
More than 7,500 spectators literally shouted and drummed her down the ice track. “They got us to the finish line. I’m incredibly happy that we have such support here in Augsburg.” And: “It was awesome, an incredible atmosphere. There’s nothing better than winning here in front of family and friends at home,” said Funk, whose season up to this point hasn’t gone as planned. The semifinals at the European Championships were not to their liking. At the World Cup in Kraków, Poland, she also became infected with the corona virus and had to take a break. At the World Championships she reported back impressively with all her routine and power.
Local hero Lilik let her tears flow immediately after crossing the finish line. “It’s indescribable, I don’t even know what to say, I just want to go to my family and celebrate,” said the Weimaraner, who spent almost her entire childhood on the ice track and now finally on her home track individual medals at a won WM. After the world championship title with the kayak women and silver with the canoe team, she already has a complete set of medals before the final day of the title fights.
The Czech Vit Prindis became world champion in the men’s kayak. Olympic bronze medalist Hannes Aigner was eliminated in 14th place in the semifinals.