SIXTEEEN-year-old Tasmanian Kate Eckhardt recently won silver in the 2014 Junior K1 World Canoe Slalom Championships at Penrith, despite a troubled run.
“I can’t even explain how excited I am,” Eckhardt said.
“It is so overwhelming. I can’t believe it. After my run I didn’t think I would be in medal contention, but once we got down to the last few paddlers I saw I had a chance, my heart was beating pretty fast, I tell you.”
Eckhardt had three gate touches, which added six seconds to her time.
The gold medal was won by Brazil’s Ana Satila, who finished in 114.48 seconds with a two-second penalty for a gate touch.
Eckhardt’s time was 121.77 seconds.
One of the first to congratulate Eckhardt was her father Peter, who paddled for Australia at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
Experts were tipping a big improvement for the Hobart-based paddler this year, but even Eckhardt said she was surprised how far she had come.
“I am so excited to see how far I’ve progressed from coming 24th last year to second this year, it is so exciting,” she said.
“I can’t say that was my best paddling, but I guess I was able to put together a good enough run under so much pressure.”
Australia’s other competitor in the women’s final, Noemie Fox, finished fourth.
The World Championships finished on 27 April.