Monday, June 23, 2008

Hayward 30th, Groeneveld 44th at World Cup Opener

Young Albertans, Ben Hayward and Jessica Groeneveld, both on their first World cup tours, participated in their first world cup ever in Prague, Czech Republic this past weekend.

Hayward showed promise early, qualifying for the semi-final in 20th position. His second running time in the qualifier was the 11th fastest of the day!! Hopefully Hayward will take some confidence away with that run and continue to blaze up the international scene. Hayward then advanced to the semi-final where he produced a running time good enough for 20th position again, but unfortunately just grazed three gates on the way down adding six seconds in penalties to his time. He ended up 30th overall, the top Canadian ahead of David Ford in 32nd, almost 5 seconds back in raw running time, and Nathan Davis in 33rd, 4 seconds back in raw running time. Way to show such good promise on your opening race Ben!

Jessica failed to advance to the Semi-final placing 44th in the Qualifier. The top 40 boats advance, so she was just outside. Unfortunately penalties were once again a problem and without her 16 additional seconds in penalties Jessica would have advanced into the semi-final! But make no mistake folks, these are insanely competitive races and first race jitters are only to be expected. But Jessica has proven this year that she is quickly on the rise! We'll watch for some good performances in the upcoming events.

VERY COOL from this years event!!! You can watch EVERY RUN from the Semi-final and final on video at the Prague World Cup website. Check out Ben's blazing (albeit a bit sloppy) run, and compare it to top performances in the final. The site is:

Now the athletes head to Tacen, a very HUGE, unpredictable, and difficult slalom site, for World Cup #2. This will be a true test of every paddler's skills and expect some crazy results. It might well suit "Hurricane Hayward" as we have all witnessed his amazing ability to just keep those paddles turning and keep his boat moving no matter what the crazy water is doing! This is a good skill to have in Tacen where a whirlpool might catch you and send you off-line-- The only thing to keep you going fast is to just keep on going! We'll keep you updated here at the Alberta Slalom blog.

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