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Tagliamento Kayak Sprint 2009

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The 2nd ever Tagliamento Kayak Sprint took place in the norteastern Italian Dolomites, in Forni ni Sotto on the Tagliamento river on April 19th. The Sprint was also the opening race for the Italian whitewater cup, "Alto Corso" Kayak Championship 2009, which consists of seven races around Italy finishing up in Loc. Le Marmore on the river Nera on 24-25/10.

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Although snow was still covering the banks of the river, the competition heated up with around 40 competitors from six different nations racing for the first spot. Besides general male and female competitor gategories, as part of the Italian Cup there were six different age classes varying from under 35's to over 60 year's olds, bringing also many ex- and present day slalomists to the competition.

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400 meters of Class 3-4 rapids served as the racecourse for the event, all visible to spectators on both banks of the river. All the competitors ran the course once, and as the top three in men's general class all finished within one second of each other, there was no room for mistakes. The top spot in the mens went to Slovenian slalomist Dejan Kralj, closely followed by Thomas Waldner (Italy) and Andraz Kripc (Slovenia).

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With Alpin Action as the organiser of the event, and the local Forni di Sotto authorities helping out in the general running of the event, everything ran smoothly from start to the finish. Competitors even got a lift to the racecourse from the parking lot and back with the local authorities' vans. After the actual racing, prize giving ceremony, dinner, and party were held at the local fishermen's association's premises. And for those who weren't too bothered about the cold snowy conditions, guided river trips were on offer on Sunday with shuttles organised, once again by the local authorities, on both the upper and lower gorges of Tagliamento.

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All the results, more photos and more information: tagliamentokayaksprint.com

Satu Vänskä-Westgarth

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