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Junior world champion Anna Retkova!

World Championship Roudnice nad Labem

It's September, and that means only one thing for us whitewater racers. The end of the official international season. And it's been a busy season.

At the beginning of July our most important junior event of the year took place. The World Junior and U23 Championships. This year was especially special as the championship was held again in the Czech Republic after 12 years, specifically in Roudnice nad Labem. We have never seen so many family members including grandfathers and grandmothers on the shore.

This championship was important for me as a last year junior. It was the last time I could compete among the juniors and I wanted to go into the senior category with a bang. You could say that it was a success, but let's not get ahead of ourselves just yet.

The championships lasted a total of 4 days. First there was the classic long downhill and the day after the team race. I was the first to start in the kayak and after a close battle with an Italian racer I finished in an unpopular 4th place. But then came my run in the single canoe and only one French woman was faster than me, taking the silver medal. I didn't defend my championship title from last year, but after my 4th place in the kayak, I had quite an improvement.

In the team race, Michaela Zedníčková, Ela Střechová and I pulled each other to the finish line and took our first gold medal together.

In downhill all athletes do both, long downhill and sprint. Even so, it's clear that some are more of a long-distance runner and some are sprinters. Well, I'm definitely not a long-distance sprinter. That's why I had high expectations when my favorite sprints came the next two days. I made it to the finals without any problems from the first qualifying runs in both of my categories, so I could focus on the big final on the last day. Unfortunately I made a huge mistake in the singles and lost my chance for a medal. In the end it was 5th place.  However, the final kayak run was flawless. When I finished, the time for first place showed up. So the worst I would be was 2nd, I knew. I watched the last racer finish and when I saw her time was slower, it was clear. I'm world champion... An indescribable feeling that I'll probably never forget.

The home environment was a great advantage for all of us. We had the track well trained, but most importantly we could experience the whole event with our families and loved ones who came to watch us. You can't get grandmothers abroad, but grandparents came here from all over the country. Finally, the President of the Czech Republic came to Roudnice to watch the sprint finals, which was a great honour for us. Some of us had the honour to receive personal congratulations from the President. Thank you, this will probably not happen to us anywhere else in the world!

This championship was special for me personally for another reason. My two brothers Toman and Vasek were also nominated to the Czech national team at the age of 15, so they were benjamins of the team with no big ambitions for a medal. In the C2 category (canoe for two) they finally won silver medals in the sprint. The last unwanted long pull deprived them of the title of world champions, as they were only one hundredth of a second short of gold. The family joy was complete.





World Cup České Budějovice - end of downhill season

At the end of August the World Cup in České Budějovice took place. It was the last two races in the World Cup series and also the last international races of our season. I competed only in the singles and managed to officially win my first big medal in the senior category. Among the adults, I have already competed once this year at the World Championships in Augsburg, Germany, where I finished seventh. But this time I managed to improve my performance and took the silver medal on the first day. Maybe the fact that I was competing on my home track played into my hands compared to the international competitors, but I ended up on the podium on the second day as well. This time in 3rd place.

I really appreciate both medals and it's a great motivation for me to continue my training because I see that even the world's top seniors can sometimes keep up with me.

With that, our season is over and now we can switch to marathon mode for the autumn races and gradually get ready for next year again. We'll see what it brings athletically. For me, outside of sports, definitely graduation and college entrance exams.

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