Ireland failed to qualify an Olympic slot from the Canoe Slalom World Championships in Bratislava yesterday.
Ciarán Heurteau finished 28th in the men’s K1 semi-final, well outside a qualification place for the boat for London 2012.
Heurteau time of 104.99 left him too far down the field to put the Irish among top 15 nations who qualify for the Olympic Games.
Eoin Rheinisch, who was fourth in Beijing four years ago, had devoted the last year since surgery on his shoulder to peaking at these Championships, basing himself in Bratislava for weeks on end. He had prepared for a tough technical challenge, but he said “I had no idea they would set such a simple course” His speed was just off on the first run, and he ran out of steam late in the second and ended up with multiple penalties on the last few gates.
Karl Dunne, the honorary secretary of the Irish Canoe Union, said the union was “very disappointed” at the team performance. “We went into that Championships looking to qualify two boats for the Olympics. The course in the heats was “there for the taking” he added. The remaining hope of qualifying for London 2012 is the European Championships in May in Augsburg in Germany.
Note: There are 2 more places allocated to Europe in Mens and Womens regardless of the results at the Worlds.
In the men’s SLO, POL, FRA, ITA, GER, CZE, BEL, ESP, SUI AUT, GBR have already qualified a spot and won’t be at the European Qualifiers.
The only European nation that finished ahead of Ireland, but didn’t qualify was NED.
In the women’s AUT, SVK, ESP, FRA, GBR, SLO, CZE, GER, RUS, POL, ITA have already qualified a spot and won’t be at the European Qualifiers.
The European nations that finished ahead of Ireland, but didn’t qualify were UKR, BLR, SUI, NED, GRE, NOR.