Czech Republic’s Amálie Hilgertová proved once again that the nerves that dogged her career for six years are behind her with a hard-fought win in the women’s K1 under-23 event at the International Canoe Federation (ICF) Junior and Under-23 Canoe Slalom World Championships in Kraków.
Hilgertová kept her cool on the Polish city's Kolna Regatta Course, posting a time of 1 min 35.22sec.
Home favourite Klaudia Zwolińska finished second in 1:35.76, which included a two-second penalty.
Germany’s Selina Jones was third in 1:38.34, marking the best result of her career.
Hilgertová is enjoying her most productive season to date, having recently been crowned the European senior champion in Pau in France.
She says it has been a long time coming after bursting on to the international stage in 2013 with a junior world title win in Liptovský Mikuláš in Slovakia.
"I’ve been waiting for an under-23 medal for a very long time and every time I lost it, because of my head I think," Hilgertová said.
"This year I have managed to get it together and now this happens.
"I’ve started to do some focus, mental exercises and that really helps me.
"My feeling on the water is much better.
"I’m more confident, I know what I’m doing and I manage to be at the right place at the right time.
"I think after my first big medal in 2013 I had big expectations, not just from others but also from myself."
France's Nicolas Gestin claimed the men’s C1 under-23 crown today to add to the European under-23 title he won earlier this month.
Gestin clocked 1:30.39, with French team mate Lucas Roisin second in 1:31.34.
Ireland's Liam Jegou took the bronze medal in 1:31.97, which included a two-second penalty that put him out of the gold medal position.
It is Gestin’s first year in the under-23 competition after picking up a world junior bronze medal last year in Ivrea in Italy.
"I think to paddle at this level, two times, with the Europeans and the World Championships, I like it so much to reach this level in the finals," he said.
"I didn’t think I was paddling well during the heats and the semi-finals – that was hard for me.
"But in the final I knew what I had to do, I knew I could go faster."
Among today's other winners was Slovenia's Nejc Polencic, who topped the podium in the men's C1 junior event.
Despite incurring four seconds in penalties, he prevailed in the final with a time of 1:38.47.
Poland's Szymon Nowobilski finished second in 1:39.22, while France's Adrien Fischer was third in 1:39.26.
The women's K1 junior final saw Czech Republic's Antonie Galušková triumph in 1:40.91, which included a two-second penalty.
Slovenia's Eva Alina Hocevar was the silver medallist in 1:42.00, edging the United States' Evy Leibfarth, who had six seconds worth of penalties, into second place by 0.35 seconds.