Lizzie completes European Championship medal set with 2nd and 3rd places
Lizzie Broughton was racing again at the European Marathon Championships in Piestany, Slovakia between the 13th and 15th June. It was a year ago at the same event where she became European Champion winning the senior women’s K2 event with long term partner Fay Lamph from Wey. This year Lizzie was selected for both K1 and K2 events, following some dominating performances in domestic assessment races. The European Championships always has strong entries from many countries, and this year was no different: the entry list contained most of the athletes who had won medals at last year’s World Championships in Copenhagen. This would make Lizzie’s goal of repeating her performance from last year a difficult challenge
On Saturday Lizzie had her K1 race, in a field containing several World Champions. From the start the race was very fast putting Lizzie under pressure immediately. She made the large front group, but at the first turn was pushed into the turn buoy by the river current. She had to stop, reverse, and go round the buoy, causing her to lose contact with the front bunch. She was now in a group with Fay chasing down the 20 second gap that had formed. The pace remained high at the front, gradually thinning out the leading group. It took 2 laps for Lizzie to make her way up to the front, and found herself in group of four including a Hungarian, an Italian and a Serb who would challenge the finish. The Hungarian multiple world champion Csay controlled the group, managing to drop the Serbian Bedocs, and then make a break for herself, with Lizzie being the last to drop from her wash. Lizzie finished in second place, 25 seconds behind Csay. This was a fantastic result for Lizzie in her first Senior K1 race, and will give her great confidence for the World Championships in September.
The weekend was not finished for Lizzie after her K1 race. On Sunday she raced in her more familiar K2 race with Fay. This pair had won this race last year at the European Championships in Portugal, and was clearly considered a threat. From the start Lizzie and Fay were attacked by the Hungarian and Italian boats which both contained athletes who had not competed in the K1. These two boats broke away from the rest of the race, leaving Lizzie and Fay to race for 3rd place. The British pair raced the Swedish crew, and eventually beat them to claim the bronze medal. This race was expected to be tough for Lizzie and Fay, entering as reigning champions and having both raced the day before. Nonetheless this was a great result, and completes the medal set for Lizzie.
Now Lizzie will be looking forward to the World Championships in Oklahoma in September where she will be aiming to deliver similarly impressive results in both K1 and K2 races. Last year Lizzie won a test event held at the same course as this year’s World Championships, so she already knows her way around the course. This year Lizzie has made another step upwards in the Marathon World standing, and will no doubt soon be challenging for a World Championship medal.