The Downriver was a gruelling 14kms of rapids and rocks. They decided on sailing starts, meaning the rafts were free to move around above the finish line until the gun went. This did result in a few false starts and penalties, but none of these made a difference in the end.
The first team across the finish line was New Zealand Open Men, (49:51,72) with Brazil right behind them. They had traded places a few times along the way until New Zealand managed to keep their place and get to the finish line first. The disappointment was written all over the Brazilians faces – they had just missed making a clean sweep of all disciplines as well as defending their Downriver title. For New Zealand, they could not celebrate until the other batches were in, in case one of those teams did a better time. Of particular concern were the hosts, Indonesia, who would have home advantage. But it soon became evident that New Zealand had struck Gold! Brazil took second and Indonesia (5-:11,22) claimed third.
Despite winning the discipline with the highest points, New Zealand could not catch Brazil on overall points. Brazil therefore maintain their R6 World Champions title! New Zealand take second and despite only a 6th in the Downriver, Argentina had done enough to get that Bronze.
A familiar site greeted us in the Open Women’s category – New Zealand (54:40,46) leading the first batch! Following shortly after was Japan. But this time the leader of the second batch, Czech, came in a whole 50 secs faster (53:50,42)! An amazing effort which beat 10 of the Open Men’s teams times! Slovakia and Great Britain, who had been leading going into the day, only achieved 5th and 8th respectively, which dropped them out of the top three into 4th and 5th Overall. Winning the Downriver meant Czech would claim Overall Gold, New Zealand taking Silver and Japan the Bronze.
The Masters teams started a while later, allowing the rafts to be moved back to the start. Once again it was New Zealand (53:31,86) who came into view first managing to keep the Czechs (53:43,09) at bay and Indonesia (56:04,24) following on behind. This would allow New Zealand to claim the Gold for Overall as well and Czechs the Silver and Indonesia the Bronze.
And just to be sure we knew exactly who were top challengers in Downriver, in came New Zealand (58:36,45) in the front of the pack of Masters Women! About 2 mins back were the Czechs, then Norway and Russia and this would be their order in the Overall as well.
Tomorrow is a free day with the medal ceremony in the evening.