For the second year in a row, Yukon will be represented at the ICF Junior and U23 Canoe Slalom World Championships.
Whitehorse paddler Pelly Vincent-Braun has successfully maintained his spot on the junior national team and will dip his paddle at the International Canoe Federation worlds this July in Krakow, Poland.
“I’m pretty excited I secured my spot for a second year – I knew I could,” said the 17-year-old. “I just put it all together on race day and I’m quite happy with my run. It was a good race, I’m proud with how I did.”
Vincent-Braun will represent Canada in C-1 (solo canoe) for junior males in Poland.
He qualified for the team with a second-place finish at the junior/U23 Canadian team trials on the Kananaskis River near Canmore, Alta., this past weekend.
Vincent-Braun, who is named after Yukon’s Pelly River, was the first Yukoner ever to compete at the ICF junior worlds last year in Brazil, an event that saw over 380 athletes from 36 nations compete.
He rode the whitewater slalom course to 37th out of 43 competitors in the C-1 junior men’s category.
He hopes to have cleaner runs this time around.
“At the last worlds the course was a bit trickier than I expected, and in all my runs I had quite a few touches, and I think I missed a couple of gates,” said Vincent-Braun. “So my goal will be to stay upright, get all the gates and paddle my hardest.”
Vincent-Braun qualified for last year’s worlds with an outstanding performance at 2014 whitewater nationals, winning six medals, including three gold. He won seven medals at last year’s nationals.
Fellow member of the Yukon Canoe and Kayak Whitewater Slalom Team, Mael Pronovost, paddled at his first national junior trials but did not make the team. The 14-year-old topped out with a ninth-place finish in his third K-1 (solo kayak) race and 10th in his fourth race.
“It was a lot of fun, it was a big competition for me, it was a lot more stressful than the nationals,” said Pronovost. “In the K-1 I didn’t have high chances of qualifying, so I was just doing it for fun. In my third run I really improved and did a lot better than I hoped I would ever do.”
Vincent-Braun and Pronovost also attempted to make the team for C-2, and even though they took in a second-place finish, they didn’t achieve the necessary time percentage.
“That was one of our goals, but it was a pretty big goal to meet,” said Vincent-Braun. “The C-2 is quite a bit slower to get around the corners; it turns way slower than a kayak.
“On our very last run, it was one of the best C-2 runs I’ve ever done. We only had two touches, which is very rare in such a big boat … It still wasn’t fast enough, but I’m really proud of our run.”
“It would have been really nice to make it, but we still have next year and the years after that,” said Pronovost. “It was a lot of fun and worth going.”
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