ICF Slalom Junior and U23 World Championships Preview

Canoe Slalom / Apr 9, 2014

The competition will be held at Penrith Whitewater Stadium, the venue of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.

Australian Olympic K1W silver medalist Jessica Fox and 2013 World Championship K1M silver medalist Jiri Prskavec of the Czech Republic will headline the event which will showcase the best young talent in the world.

The U23 competition will be fierce with Fox out to defend her U23 C1W Worlds title. The 19 year old will also be looking to improve on her 18th placing in the K1W event.

Despite the C1W being a non-Olympic event, the battle between 2013 World Champion Fox and runner-up Mallory Franklin of Great Britain should be a fierce contest.

Fellow Penrith paddler Alison Borrows and Jane Nicholas of New Zealand will be others in the mix.

Western Australian Georgia Rankin will be the third Australian woman in action.

The U23 K1W will pit Fox against 2013 World Championship bronze medalist Eva Tercelj of Slovenia, and Czech kayaker Katerina Kudejova who will be looking to defend her crown.

Italian Stefanie Horn and British pair Franklin and Kimberley Woods will be others in the mix.

Prskavec will head into the U23 K1M event as the red hot favourite. 

The man who edged Prskavec to the 2013 title, Frenchman Mathieu Biazizzo will be looking to upstage the Czech star once again.

Victorian Jaxon Merritt is in a good form having achieved a career best result winning the Oceania Championship earlier in the year.

The Melbourne Canoe Club paddler will be looking to improve on his ninth place finish at last year’s event in Liptovsky Mikulas and is one of Prskavec’s main challengers.

Other U23 men in contention include American Michael Smolen and Martin Halcin of Slovakia.

Tasmanian Daniel Watkins will compete at his first U23 World Championships following a stellar junior career which included two gold medals at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival in 2012.

Victorian Tim Anderson will be the third of the Australian U23 K1M and will be looking to improve on his 41st placing last year.

Slovakian pair Patrik Gajarsky and Jergus Badura finished first and third respectively in the U23 C1M event in 2013 and look set to fight it out with Slovenian Luka Bozic for the 2014 U23 Worlds title.

Merritt and Watkins will fly the Australian flag but neither are considered title contenders as their preferred discipline in the kayak.

Czech pair Jonas Kasper and Marek Sindler will be looking to go one better than last year in the U23 C2M event after finishing second behind fellow Czech crew Lukas Rohan and Adam Svoboda in 2013.

The Polish crews of Filip and Andrzej Brzezinski, and Michal Wiercioch and Grzegorz Majerczak will be other strong contenders.

The junior events should produce some quality racing with a blanket separating the field in all the events.

New Zealand junior Callum Gilbert was a standout at the Australian Open and Oceania Championships earlier in the year and appears set for an exciting Junior Worlds.

Gilbert enjoys racing on the Penrith course and will be one to watch in the K1M and C1M events.

Reigning junior K1M World Champion Jakub Grigar of Slovakia will be the man to beat as no other member of last year’s top ten is competing this year.

Vid Karner of Slovenia finished 11th in 2013 and appears Grigar’s toughest challenger alongside Gilbert.

Penrith pair Angus Thompson and Lachlan Croft will fly the Australian flag alongside Western Australian Steven Lowther.

Thompson and Croft in particular will be looking to take advantage of their home course knowledge.

Lowther will also fly the Australian flag in the junior C1M and C2M events.

The Western Australian will be joined by fellow statesman Brodie Crawford and Penrith canoeist Tristan Carter to represent Australia in the junior C1M event.

The event is traditionally dominated by strong rivals France, Spain, Slovakia, Slovenia and the Czech Republic and you can expect them to be amongst the medals once again.

Gilbert of New Zealand could be the smokey following an excellent domestic season.

Lowther and Crawford will team up for the junior C2M where they will be looking to win their first Junior Worlds medal.

Czech pair Jan Vetrovsky and Michael Matejka, Niko Testen and Jakob Jeklin of Slovenia and the Kiwi crew of Daniel Munro and Luke Robinson will be other boats in the mix.

The niece of former Olympic Champion Stepanka Hilgertova, Amalie Hilgertova will be looking to make it consecutive junior K1W World titles.

The Czech teenager will face strong competition from 2013 bronze medalist Camille Prigent of France, Ana Satila of Brazil and Slovakian Paulina Matulaniova.

Australian trio Kate Eckhardt of Tasmania, Penrith paddler Noemie Fox and Victorian Eliza Singleton will be other strong contenders.

Eckhardt in particular could be the one to end the European dominance after finishing an impressive eighth in the open K1W event at the Oceania Championships.

Eckhardt and Fox will also contest the junior C1W alongside local canoeist Alexandra Broome of Penrith.

German Karolin Wagner heads in as the favourite and will be looking to make it back to back titles.

Wagner will face tough competition from fellow 2013 medal winners Anna Koblencova of Germany and Brazilian Ana Satila.

Fox was Australia’s highest place finisher in 2013, just missing on a place in the final in 11th.

Racing will commence on Wednesday 23rd April with the qualification (heat) runs for the Junior and U23 K1M, K1W and C2M events.

Demonstration runs will be held a day before on Tuesday 22nd April at 3:00pm local time.

Please follow the links below for more information.