Canoeing: David Florence wins Australian Open title

David Florence
David Florence
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Edinburgh canoeist David Florence added the Australian Open to his three world titles at Penrith, but only after surviving a close shave in the semi-finals.

The 34-year-old has been training hard Down Under, but had not raced since claiming his third Olympic silver medal in Rio last summer, and he unsurprisingly looked a little rusty when going ninth-fastest in Friday’s C1 slalom heats. Florence was only tenth-quickest in the semis, grabbing the last spot in the final by just 0.46secs. It all came good when it mattered, though, as the Scot produced a flawless run in 95.78 to beat fastest qualifier Matej Benus by almost a full second.

“I was bit lucky perhaps after struggling in qualification and in the semi-final, but I had a good final and I’m very happy to have won the Australian Open!” smiled Florence.

Roslin’s World Cup silver medallist Bradley Forbes-Cryans was an excellent fifth in a high-quality K1 kayak final. “I’m very satisfied with my first race of the season,” declared Forbes-Cryans.