The pinnacle event on the 2013 calendar has attracted a world-class field with more than 360 athletes set to test themselves down one of Europe’s finest and most historic whitewater venues.
Australia will field a nine-person strong team lead by London Olympic K1 silver medallist Jessica Fox and 24 year old kayaker Lucien Delfour after each recorded career best World Cup performances in the lead up to this year’s World Championships.
Fox created history at the fourth World Cup in Slovenia, becoming the first female to complete the double with victories in the women’s C1 and K1 events and will be hoping to do the same at Troja this weekend.
The 19 year old will face strong competition in the K1 event from fellow Australian’s Rosalyn Lawrence and Sarah Grant after each recorded top ten finishes during the World Cup series.
Czech legend Stepanka Hilgertova, fellow local favourite Katerina Kudejova, former Austrian world champion Corinna Kuhnle, Slovakian Jana Dukatova and London Olympic gold medallist Emilie Fer of France look set to be the Australian trio’s greatest challenge in what is one of the best women’s fields ever assembled.
Fox and Lawrence will be joined by Penrith’s Alison Borrows to represent Australia in the women’s C1 event with Fox the hot favourite to claim the world title after she won the final four consecutive World Cup C1 gold medals.
Lawrence will be one of Fox’s main rivals alongside Frenchwoman Caroline Loir, Czech paddler Katerina Hoskova and British duo Mallory Franklin and Kimberley Woods, with the latter winning gold at the first World Cup in Cardiff back in June.
Lawrence is looking to finish on the podium in Prague.
“I've spent a lot of time here over the years so I feel very comfortable with the water”, said Lawrence.
“In both C1 and K1 I would like to cross the finish line each time with satisfying, clean runs. In terms of results I hope this means a podium in C1 and the final in K1.”
Delfour appears to be the pick of the Australian men pushing for a podium finish at Worlds after he won silver in the men’s K1 final at World Cup 3 in La Seu d’Urgell, Spain.
The Penrith kayaker will be joined by Melbourne’s Jaxon Merritt and Armidale’s William Forsythe to fly the Australian flag in the K1 event.
Local kayakers Jiri Prskavec and Vavrinec Hradilek will be amongst the favourites to produce the winning run down the highly technical course in Prague alongside highly fancied German trio of Hannes Aigner, Sebastian Schubert and Fabian Doerfler.
Australia are yet to crack a top ten finish in the men’s C1 event this year but will be hoping to change that this weekend with Ian Borrows and Robin Jeffery both coming off solid displays at the final World Cup in Slovakia where they placed 11th and 20th respectively.
British canoeist David Florence, Slovakian trio Matej Benus, Michal Martikan and Alexander Slafkovsky, German duo Sideris Tasiadis and Jan Benzien and Frenchman Denis Gargaud Chanut are expected to fight it out for the medals on Saturday.
Melbourne’s Christian Fabris will miss the event through injury.
Racing will commence on Thursday 12th September with the K1M, C1M and C1W heats to feature on the opening day.
Please refer to the schedule below and links for important race information.
C1M: Robin Jeffery (WA) & Ian Borrows (NSW).
C1W: Jessica Fox (NSW), Rosalyn Lawrence (NSW) & Alison Borrows (NSW).
K1M: Lucien Delfour (NSW), Jaxon Merritt (VIC) & William Forsythe (NSW).
K1W: Jessica Fox (NSW), Rosalyn Lawrence (NSW) & Sarah Grant (VIC).
(Times listed are AUS EST, 8hrs ahead of local Prague, CZE time).
Thursday 12th September
5:00pm – K1M Heat Run 1 (Lucien Delfour/Jaxon Merritt/Will Forsythe)
6:46pm – K1M Heat Run 2 (Lucien Delfour/Jaxon Merritt/Will Forsythe)
10:00pm – C1M Heat Run 1 (Robin Jeffery/Ian Borrows)
11:19pm – C1W Heat Run 1 (Jessica Fox/Rosalyn Lawrence/Alison Borrows)
12:30am – C1M Heat Run 2 (Robin Jeffery/Ian Borrows)
1:49am – C1W Heat Run 2 (Jessica Fox/Rosalyn Lawrence/Alison Borrows)
Friday 13th September
5:00pm – K1W Heat Run 1 (Jessica Fox/Rosalyn Lawrence/Sarah Grant)
6:04pm – C2M Heat Run 1
6:50pm – K1W Heat Run 2 (Jessica Fox/Rosalyn Lawrence/Sarah Grant)
7:54pm – C2M Heat Run 2
11:30pm – C1M Semifinals
12:35am – K1M Semifinals
Saturday 14th September
6:00pm – C1W Semifinals
8:32pm – C1W Finals
9:02pm – C1M Finals
9:32pm – K1M Finals
11:30pm – C1W Teams Final
11:51pm – C1M Teams Final
12:27am – K1M Teams Final
Sunday 15th September
5:30pm – K1W Semifinals
6:35pm – C2M Semifinals
8:02pm – K1W Finals
8:32pm – C2M Finals
10:30pm – K1W Teams Final
11:00pm – C2M Teams Final