Woe at World Championship for Hannah

Armoy kayaker Hannah Craig
Armoy kayaker Hannah Craig

Armoy kayaker Hannah Craig fell just short of qualifying for the semi-finals at the recent canoe slalom World Championships in London.

The 31-year-old, who was a 2012 Olympic Finalist for Ireland in the Women’s Single Kayak K1, came closest on her first run. 20 competitors qualified directly, but Craig finished 30th in the event which doubled up as the Olympic qualifier.

Unfortunately Hannah had a touch on gate 11, which pushed her out to 99.04 seconds, and out of the top 20. A slower time second time round saw her clock 100.4 seconds. On her second run, the Northern Ireland woman had no touches but with 10 places available this time, she finished back in 21st.

Craig finished 10th at the 2012 Games after becoming the first Irish paddler to reach an Olympic final. Her hopes of making the Rio 2016 Games now rest with the European Championships next year, where she must finish as the top competitor who has not yet qualified.

Speaking after her disappointment Hannah said: “I went from 16th with a spot booked for the semi-final to 31st with everything left to do. I went into the second run confident and focused. Unfortunately I lost precious time in a highly competitive field. This was not the paddling I aspire to which leaves a bitter taste on a performance level. However I am happy with my overall race process and many elements of my first run. We’ve come along way over the past five months and now it’s time to start planning towards the next Olympic qualifier in May.”