The Mtkvari River in the Borjomi Valley in Georgia is a large volume, fast flowing river. There are few obstacles at this water level and so the challenge is more dealing with the rapid current than negotiating a technical river. Although the slalom gates were often quite far apart they still presented a challenge as the rafts would come upon them very quickly.
A number of teams were caught out by the last two gates – as you negotiated downriver Gate 13 you then had to get over left for Downriver gate 14, and, as it happened with two teams, all team members moving over to one side of the raft to get all your heads through can lead to the raft tipping over!
The morning saw the U19 and U23 teams taking on the course. Italy U19 Women did one of the better runs of the morning, achieving only a 5 second penalty coupled with a fast run, giving them Slalom Gold.
The U19 Men were all very close in time – about 10 seconds apart, which meant that every penalty would change their result radically. They all achieved either a 10 or 5 second penalty and final times were a mere 7s apart making this overall a very close discipline for these teams! It was RUS 1 that took the Gold in this excellent racing and great promises for the future.
RUS 1 took Gold in the U23 Men’s and Women’s categories and were the only ones from the Junior teams to get clear runs.
In the afternoon it was the Open and Masters Teams’ turn.
The very strong Czech Masters claimed the top two positions, with Russia just behind.
RUS 2 Open Men had the fastest time of the day down the course, and with a 0 second penalty on that time it was an emphatic Gold for them.
That leaves just the Downriver to decide who will be the overall European Rafting Champions for 2017. And with such high points at stake it will be a hard race for them all.