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David Florence carried to singles gold on swell of support

David Florence mastered his home course at Lee Valley yesterday to win the canoe singles title at the World Cup but missed out narrowly on adding the doubles title alongside English partner ­Richard Hounslow.

David Florence won singles gold and narrowly missed out on a second World Cup title
David Florence won singles gold and narrowly missed out on a second World Cup title

The world champion pair clocked 106.04 seconds, more than half a second faster than eventual winners, Slovenia's Luka Bozic and Saso Taljat. However, Florence and Hounslow were resigned a fifth-place finish after touching two gates to incur a four-second penalty.

It was a frustrating error since the pair, Olympic silver medallists in London, had been fastest qualifiers with a clean run in 107.79sec. "It was frustrating to get those little touches but you can't afford to make those little mistakes," said Aberdeen-born Florence.

"That's part of it but we were very pleased with the time. It's pretty pleasing for this stage of the season. It's been an awesome event."

In the singles, the Scot had a point to prove after missing out on a medal at the European Championships last week in Vienna. He was only third fastest in the field after his semi-final time of 100.27sec, with Czech Vitezlav Gebas leading the way. However, Florence produced a brilliant final run to storm to the gold medal in 97.87sec and in spite of a two-second penalty.

"Last time I raced here in my C1 it didn't quite go the way I'd hoped, so to come back to the next major race and for it to have gone so well at every stage - through qualifying and in the final - makes me happy," he said. "I am really pleased to have delivered on that final run. [Britain team] don't often get a World Cup gold medal.

"To take a victory anywhere is incredible and especially here, where I train, and in front of a home crowd; what a day. There were some really difficult moves so it was really trying to focus on just one step at a time all the way down the course and hold it together which I did.

"The course was tricky all the way down but there were some harder moves: [between gates] nine and 10 was a very difficult move and then again the moves in the section we call the oval. I knew it was going to be difficult for everyone.

"I could hear the crowds; people shouting on the start and cheering all the way down the course. There were a bunch of kids I help coach and to hear them running all the way down it was great."

It proved to be a fine weekend for Scotland with Eilidh Gibson, the Kinross teenager, taking an unexpected silver medal in the women's canoe singles, and Fiona Pennie, from Crieff, also taking gold with Franklin and Beth Latham in the kayak team event.

Gibson could hardly believe her success after going into the final as the eighth-fastest qualifier. She came through to win her first ­individual senior medal in a time of 128.24sec, behind her Great Britain team-mate Mallory Franklin [122.44sec].

"I can't believe it; I'm so happy," said Gibson, who was in tears afterwards. "I expected people to go in front and they kept not going in front. I thought I was going to faint and I only started to believe it right at the end. I've worked so, so hard, so my family were really proud."

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