Monday, 2 July 2012


Nina Csonková's report from the 2012 European Freestyle Championship in Lienz, Austria

Right now I am sitting in our car on the way home from Lienz. The European Championships are over and I am full of emotions. It is funny how long you prepare yourself for it and how quickly things fly by.

This year we came to Lienz with big goals. Peter wanted to defend his title as European Champion and I wanted to improve my result of the previous Euros. We spent about three weeks in Lienz before the event started to prepare ourselves for it. The Drau hole is a very difficult playspot to train and to get used to. I was struggling with it for a long time before I saw some improvement. I can say Peter was doing well all the time until he got injured. I believe he trained too much and after he thought he had healed all his old injures this one came up. We went home for while to rest but when we got back Peter's injury got even worse. He spent the last five days of our training just coaching me.

When the competition started I was quite nervous. In my mind I saw my failure from last year and I was afraid to fail again. However, after prelims I finally calmed down, because I was in. Peter did well in the men's prelims despite his weak bleeding belly muscle. I was worried about him. He is very strong-minded and stubborn. Next step was to get trough quarter and semifinals (for me only semifinal). My first ride was very bad and I started to be nervous, but Peter helped me to concentrate on the next run and I did a nice one and got into the top 5.

With Peter it wasn't so easy. They had the quarterfinal and the semifinal on the same day. That meant the men had to do 5 runs in one day, which is very exhausting. After Peter's last ride in the semifinal, I wasn't sure if this was a good idea. He was in big pain. Despite this he scored second place and got to the top five. We were both happy to be in the final.

The final day was the hottest day of the entire comp. It wasn't helping us a lot and I could see Peter's muscle got even worse as it was before. The woman's final was scheduled before the men's. My first ride was the best of all of my three rides. I wasn't really satisfied with it, but I scored second with it, which was great. I took the silver medal, my first ever silver medal at a European Championship. Peter was trying very hard, but he couldn't do his best because of his injury. In the end he placed fifth. But I can say I am very proud of his achievement. This cost him lot if power, energy and health. I know how he paddled and I can say if he was all right he would have had a good chance to claim gold. I think he did a great job! I would like to thank to all the people who helped us, especially Thomas Zimmerman who took Peter to Gunter, a perfect physiotherapist and to xrays. We got a perfect medical service for Peter in Lienz! Thank you for all.

Now we are heading home. Peter cannot paddle for few weeks, but I think this break will help him a lot. Beginning of August we are leaving for the USA to take a part in the World Cup. So wish us good luck there and fast recovery for Peter.

Check out this TV report on ORF Austria about the European Champs, which also features Peter as defending champion.

See you.



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