Australia - First World Championship Gold for Australia
Robin Bell has become Australia's first Canoe Slalom World Champion after a flawless final run at Penrith here Saturday.
After a disappointing Olympic campaign, he said he knew it was time to step up in the C1.
"I had a break (after Athens) and came back wanting to push myself harder, to win medals not just for me, but for Australia," he said after his final run.
"I've known I can match it with those guys for ages. It's just a matter of pulling it off on the day."
Bell's awesome time was followed by a dozen Australian fans jumping into the water. "All my friends started jumping in the river and that's when I realised I'd won."
Australia's National Performance Director Richard Fox said “it’s a credit to his individual talent and ability.”
“If we can produce a world champion we can now build new champions.”
Bell was not the only Australian in the final, with 24-year-old Kynan Maley coming in at 7th place, 6.58 seconds behind Bell.
Maley was happy overall with his efforts in the Championships.
"I'm just stoked to be here. I was convinced I would be on the couch watching the tournament!"
In the Women's K1 semi-final the Australians did not qualify for the final 10 despite some solid performances.
Louise Natoli was looking strong in her semi-final run, only hitting one gate as she carved her way down the Penrith course until a final gate disaster when she missed the gate completely and had to paddle back against the current, eventually finishing 24th.
The other two Australian semi-finalists were philosophical about their final results with Katrina Lawrence and Victoria Milne coming in at 11th and 13th respectively.
"I had a good run. It was clean and solid so I was pretty happy with it for my first World Championships semi-final," Lawrence said.