|Ana Sátila (Foto: Iran Schleder)|
At these championships, held at the slalom course of Itaipu (Foz do Iguaçu, BRA) the last four olympic berths for America were at play for the K1, C1 and C2 Men and for the K1 Women. Paddlers from Canada, Brazil, USA, Argentina, Venezuela and Costa Rica were fighting for them on those disciplines were they hadn't got one at the World Champs last year.
The K1 final was one of the closests, when the faster on the course was the Brazilian Pedro Henrique Gonçalves (90.70 secs), but a slight touch at one of the gates gave him a 2 seconds penalty, finishing in 92.70, just 13 hundreths over the Canadian David Ford, who finished in 92.57 with a blank penalty sheet., taking gold and the olympic berth for London. Bronze went to another Brazilian, Ricardo Taques (93.07).
At Men C1, gold was claimed by Benn Fraker (94.50), who also got the passport for the Summer Olympics. Silver went to his compatriot Casey Eichfeld (95.96), while Canadian Cameron Smedley took the bronze (99.76).
But the authentic sensation at Itaipu was the young Brazilian star Ana Sátila, very well known in Brazil, but completely unknown out of their frontiers. Then, she has entered thorugh the main door in her first international appearance. At the K1 final, with an olympic place at play, she was not only the faster going down the course, but with only one touch at gate #15 (upstream and one of the most difficult for the paddlers) she only added a 2 seconds penalty, matching her result at 106.92, below the descent time of her rival, the Canadian Jessica Groeneveld, who also added 4 seconds because of touchs at gates 10 and 15, finishing with 111.51. Bronze went to another Canadian, Thea Froehlich, who finished in 113"75.
But Sátila, not happy enough with her achievement on Saturday, on Sunday morning changed the kayak by the canoe and claimed another gold medal at the non-olympic discipline of the C1 Women, showing her amazing versatility on the water. Second gold then for the young girl from Mato-Grosso, scorted in the podium by Canadian Haly Daniels, silver, and Argentinian María Sol Cassini, bronze.
The left Olympic berth, the C2 Men, went to Jeff Larimer and Eric Hurd (USA), winners by just a couple of seconds over the Argentinians Petry/Correa and three over their teammates Eichfeld/McEwan, who completed the podium.
At the team races, maybe the most spectacular for the public surrounding the magnificent course, Brazil took another two golds with the C1 and K1 Men teams, while Canada won the K1 Womwn and Argentina took the gold in C2 Men.
Finally, Canada got the overall National Team standings, adding 138 points, with Brazil second (129) and Argentina thrid (102).