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JUNIOR CHAMPS – From left, Mael and Luanda Pronovost compete in junior mixed C-2 at the Canoe Slalom National Championships in Ottawa, Ont. last Sunday. The duo took home gold in the event and posted many podium performances in other events over the competition. Photo by ALEC MACLEOD

Pronovost siblings capture junior national title

It only took two athletes to represent the Yukon at the Canoe Slalom National Championships in Ottawa, Ont.

By Whitehorse Star on August 9, 2017

It only took two athletes to represent the Yukon at the Canoe Slalom National Championships in Ottawa, Ont. Siblings Luanda and Mael Pronovost captured a combined 13 medals at the competition while competing in every type of boat available.

“It was good. It was really fun,” said Luanda from Madawaska Kanu Centre Tuesday morning, where she and her brother were preparing for another race.

Luanda stood on the podium in every event she entered.

Early in the week-long competition, she paddled to gold in C-1, silver in C-2 with Mael and gold in K-1 in the classic downriver race – a point A to point B race.

It was her first time in a C-1 on moving water.

“I just tried to stay upright,” she said.

Mael was second in C-1 and ninth in K-1 in the event.

Luanda and Mael paddled a downriver C-2 for the race and he said they spent most of the race doing brace strokes to stay upright in the tippy boat.

Luanda was in the bow and Mael, who had paddled C-2 before with Pelly Vincent-Braun, was in the stern.

Vincent-Braun did not attend the competition.

“He kept telling me to paddle harder,” said Luanda of her brother.

The duo got back in the C-2 for the downriver sprint race and managed silver again.

Luanda also took home gold for C-1 and silver in K-1, while Mael took home bronze in C-1 and was fourth in K-1.

The main event of the national championships took place on the weekend with the age group nationals for slalom on Saturday.

Again, the siblings each raced K-1 and C-1 before teaming up for C-2.

Luanda, 14, raced up an age division to compete with her brother.

Their first run was fast and after missing only one gate, they managed first place. While their second run wasn’t as fast, none of the other teams could match them and they became the junior champions.

“We had a really good first run,” said Luanda. “I thought it was fun.”

She also placed first in C-1 and second in K-1.

Mael was pleased with his runs in C-1.

“They were all pretty good I think,” he said. “They weren’t the fastest, but they were good.”

He won bronze in the event.

His K-1 runs were also a success.

“I was super happy with them,” he said. He finished 11th.

Mael also teamed up with a paddler from Ontario and Quebec to take part in the team run. While they were just doing it for fun, the trio managed silver.

“We weren’t planning on going fast,” said Mael. “We were just laughing the whole time.”

With their bounty of medals, the Pronovosts turned their attention to two more events at Madawaska Kanu Centre, near Barry’s Bay, Ont.

After those wrap up, Mael will stay out east for a handful of other competitions in Quebec as he switches his focus to playboating and creekboating. Luanda will return to the Yukon and may attend the western championships in a few weeks.

With her success at nationals, she’s already looking forward to next time.

“I’m really happy about it,” she said. “I’m excited for next year.”

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