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Esteban Medina Ojeda and Angie Leroux are the 2018 Ocean Racing European Champions

Esteban Medina Ojeda and Angie Leroux are the 2018 Ocean Racing European Champions 6.10.2018

Spanish coastal town Villajoyosa hosts this year's edition of the ECA Ocean Racing European Championships. Around 180 competitors from ten European countries are gathered on the Costa Blanca and the first competition day brought races in SS1 Junior, U23 and Senior categories. The start of the race was in Villajoyosa and finish in Altea, a little over 20 kilometres away. 

France and Spain dominated the opening day of the ECA Ocean Racing European Championships, as it was expected. The fastest paddler between Villajoyosa and Altea was Spanish kayaker Esteban Medina Ojeda. It took him one hour, 25 minutes and 37 seconds to complete the prescribed course of the day. German representative Gordan Harbrecht was eight seconds slower than Spanish paddler to pick up silver medal, while David Szlachta from France won bronze medal. 
"I expected to be on the podium, I just needed a little bit of wind and it came today. I was very happy we could be in front. It was a crazy race. German and French guys are stronger than me in flatwater conditions, so for me it was a very very good result," said Esteban Media Ojeda, who comes from Gran Canaria. 
In women's senior SS1 event French paddler Angie Leroux won the event in front of two Spanish paddlers Judit Verges Xifra and Amaia Osaba Olaberri. The differences between top three boats in this event were quite big. Verges Xifra won silver medal with a minute and twenty seconds slower time than Leroux in first place, while Osaba Olaberri won bronze medal with six minutes slower time.
In men's U23 category it was a triple win for France with Noe Pelizza, Hector Henot and Pierre Villela occupying the podium positions. In women's U23 event Lisa Gras won another gold medal for French team, her compatriot Marue Saintes Laury was second and Lucia Serralta Ferrer from Spain third. 
Not only ocean racing experts are taking part in this championships. On the start we've seen also medallists from canoe marathon races, canoe sprint and wildwater canoeing races. Among them was Anežka Paloudova, young Czech wildwater canoeing star. It was her first race on the sea, as Czech Republic does not have access to the sea. She was really excited after the race, "It is really different from wildwater racing. It was my first race on the ocean, because we don't have any ocean in Czech Republic, so it is hard to do it there. Our friends who compete in this sport invited us, so I tried this once on the river in Czech Republic and them we came here. It is really amazing to do this kind of racing, it is absolutely different. In these 20 kilometres I did not know how to catch a wave, so I just kept paddling and paddling and in the last two kilometres before the finish I finally found a way how to catch it and I thought, 'Oh, my good it's so much better when I am just coming with that wave'. It was nice."
On Sunday the championships will conclude with master races, SS2 and OC1 events.





Men Senior SS1

1. Esteban Medina Ojeda ESP 1:25:37,887

2. Gordan Harbrecht GER +8,011

3. David Szlachta FRA +16,557


Women Senior SS1

1. Angie Leroux FRA 1:36:53,045

2. Judit Verges Xifra ESP +1:20,792

3. Amaia Osaba Olaberri ESP +6:02,438


Men U23 SS1

1. Noe Pelizza FRA 1:25:39,897

2. Hector Henot FRA  +22,513

3. Pierre Villela FRA +2:21,750


Women U23 SS1

1. Lisa Gras FRA 1:46:46,136

2. Marie Saintes Laury FRA +5,961

3. Lucia Serralta Ferrer ESP +5:08,390


Men Junior SS1

1. Jorge Enriquez Gutierrez ESP 1:29:29,440

2. Nathan Le Nestour FRA +3:58,580

3. Bernardo Pereira POR +4:20,970


Women Junior SS1

1. Anouk Strohmann FRA 1:48:00,207

2. Paula Ruiz Arruti ESP  +9:14,058

3. Karolina Paloudova CZE +9:28,322