Australia heads into this week’s ICF U23 and Junior Canoe Slalom World Championships confident of a strong showing in Bratislava in both the men’s and women’s events.
Multiple world champion at both a senior and junior level, Jessica Fox, heads Australia’s medal chances at her final under-age event, but the team has several other paddlers who have already shown on the senior World Cup stage this year they have good form.
Tasmania’s Daniel Watkins and Kate Eckhardt are two paddlers who have had strong results against the world’s best, and will appreciate the chance to show their form against their own age-group.
Brodie Crawford is also looking to make an impact, especially after the frustration of just missing qualification for the senior Australian World Championship team.
“I was a little bit disappointed with selections, finishing fourth and just off the senior team,”Crawford said from Bratislava.
“But I’ve had some good opportunities at the first two World Cups. I had some good racing there, some ups and downs, but I’m feeling pretty good.
“It’s a long time until Tokyo, but I’m feeling pretty good. It’s a work in progress.”
Crawford will be one of the first Australians on the water on Tuesday night, Australian time, competing in the heats of the men’s C1.
“I’m feeling pretty confident, we’ve had a massive block here now, we’ve been in Brat about four weeks training,” he said.
“Niagara is pretty tricky at the bottom of the course when you’re tired, but we’ve done a lot of practice on it now so it’s feeling good.
“I prefer going first, it’s less of a build-up, I like to just get out there and have a good crack, not have to ponder on it for too long.
“I’d be happy to make top 20, top 15, but I want to get into that final and have a real crack.”
Joining Crawford in opening-day action will be Watkins and Tristan Carter in the U23 C1, and Lachlan Bassett in the junior C1.