A record 62 C1 women will compete at the U23 & Junior World Championships.
The world's best up and coming canoe slalom paddlers will fight it out for glory when the 2013 ICF U23 and Junior World Championships commence on Wednesday.
Liptovsky Mikulas in Slovakia will host this year’s event from 17-21st July.
Australia’s very own Olympic K1 silver medallist Jessica Fox will headline the event alongside reigning U23 K1 World Champion Jiri Prskavec of the Czech Republic.
Australia will field a 16 person strong team consisting of eight U23 and Junior paddlers.
U23 Team: Jessica Fox (NSW), Alison Borrows (NSW), Maggie Webster (VIC), Ethan Hodson (NSW), Andrew Eckhardt (NSW), Jaxon Merritt (VIC), Joey Croft (NSW) and Tim Anderson (VIC).
Junior Team: Brodie Crawford (WA), Daniel Watkins (TAS), Steven Lowther (WA), Angus Thompson (NSW), Noemie Fox (NSW), Kate Eckhardt (TAS), Georgia Rankin (WA) and Alexandra Broome (NSW).
Racing will commence on Wednesday 17th with the U23 and Junior K1M, C1W and C2M heats to feature on the opening day.
The men’s U23 K1 promises to be a hotly contested affair with Prskavec the one to beat after a scintillating start to 2013 has seen the talented Czech take out the K1 crown at the European Championships in Krakow, Poland.
Frenchman Vivien Colober and Slovakia’s Martin Halcin will be others to keep a close eye on with a world class field assembled for the men’s K1 discipline.
Representing Australia will be Melbourne duo Jaxon Merritt and Tim Anderson, and Penrith’s Joey Croft.
Merritt and Croft in particular will be looking to post strong performances after each securing career best results across the first three ICF World Cups this year.
The women’s C1 class will field a record number of participants with 62 from 25 countries competing in the fast emerging women’s discipline.
Eight of those nations are non-European with China, Chinese Taipei, Japan, Cook Islands, Kazakhstan, Brazil and Canada joining Australia to contest the event.
The event looks set to be a showdown between Jessica Fox and British canoeist Mallory Franklin with the duo currently sitting first and fifth respectively on the ICF World Cup points table.
NSWIS paddler Alison Borrows and Victorian Maggie Webster should also be right in the mix.
Fox, Borrows and Webster will also contest the U23 K1W heats on Thursday.
The K1W event will be an intriguing battle with Czech paddler Katerina Kudejova, Slovenia’s Eva Tercelj and German Ricarda Frunk all set to throw down the challenge to Fox.
The men’s C1 U23 and Junior heats will also be contested on Thursday before the semifinals for all events will be raced on Friday with the finals to proceed over the weekend.
Senior C2 Australian paddler Ethan Hodson will contest the U23 C1M event alongside Tasmanian Andrew Eckhardt.
The pair are at long odds to feature on the podium with Slovenia’s Anze Bercic expected to dominate.
In a family affair Noemie Fox and Kate Eckhardt will join older siblings Jessica and Andrew in the Australian team representing the junior squad.
Both girls will line up in the Junior K1W and C1W events, with Georgia Rankin joining the girls in the K1W and Alexandra Broome in the C1W.
“It is my first Junior World Championships so I am just looking forward to performing my best and seeing how I rank against other junior girls in C1 and K1,” said Fox.
The pair, like many of their fellow junior squad members competed at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival earlier in the year with Fox claiming K1 gold and Eckhardt C1 gold.
“After the AYOF all I wanted to do was go to another Olympic event. It was such a wonderful experience and my result of first in C1 was very exciting for me,” said Eckhardt.
Despite impressive starts to their junior careers the Australian junior girls will have to exceed all expectations if they are going to match it with British teenager Kimberley Woods who set paddling world alight in Cardiff last month when she won C1 Gold at ICF World Cup 1.
London Olympian Ana Satila of Brazil, Czech youngster Karolina Galuskova and Austrian Lisa Leitner will be others right in contention for top position overall.
17 year old Derwent paddler Daniel Watkins will be Australia’s best chance of a medal in the Junior K1M and C1M events after he won two gold medals at the AYOF earlier in the year.
Western Australian Brodie Crawford will join the talented Tasmanian to contest both disciplines, while Penrith’s Angus Thompson will contest the K1M and Steven Lowther the C1M.
Slovakian Jakub Grigar is expected to use his local knowledge and clinch the K1M junior title, while Frenchman Cedric Joly is favoured to claim the C1M title.
Liptovsky Mikulas, Slovakia
Liptovsky Mikulas is a small town located in Northern Slovakia with an estimated population of 32,000 people.
The town is situated 285km from Bratislava, about a three hour drive.
The Ondrej Cibak Whitewater Slalom Course, in Liptovský Mikuláš, Slovakia, is the world's second-oldest artificial whitewater venue for international canoe slalom competition, after the Augsburg Eiskanal. Built in 1978, it diverts water around a small dam on the Váh River. With recent upgrades, including a covered stadium for spectators, it remains a prime site for the sport.
As a training facility, it is home course for canoe slalom's most highly decorated athlete, Michal Martikán, who has five Olympic medals, two of them gold, and for Elena Kaliská, who also has two Olympic gold’s. Both athletes have won numerous World and European Championships.
Competition Day 1, Qualification
17 July 2013, Wednesday
08:00 Forerunners K1M, C1W, C2M
08:15 – 13:05 U23 K1M, C1W, C2M Run 1 & 2
14:15 – 19:55 Junior K1M, C1W, C2M Run 1 & 2
Competition Day 2, Qualification
18 July 2013, Thursday
08:30 Forerunners K1W, C1M
08:45 – 12:35 U23 K1W, C1M Run 1 & 2
13:45 – 18:15 Junior K1W, C1M Run 1 & 2
18:15 – 19:15 Course construction for Semi Finals & Finals
19:15 – 19:35 Demonstration Semifinal / Final course (full-length)
Competition Day 3, Semifinals
19 July 2013, Friday
08:30 Forerunners K1M, C1W, C2M, K1W, C1M
08:45 – 12:35 U23 K1M, C1W, C2M, K1W, C1M Semifinal
14:00 – 17:55 Junior K1M, C1W, C2M, K1W, C1M Semifinal
Competition Day 4, Finals / Teams
20 July 2013, Saturday
09:30 Forerunners K1M, C1W, C2M
10:00 U23 K1M, C1W, C2M Final
11:30 Junior K1M, C1W, C2M Final
13:05 Medal Ceremony
14:30 Forerunners K1M, C1W, C2M
14:45 U23 K1M, C1W, C2M Teams Final (single run)
16:30 Junior K1M, C1W, C2M Teams Final (single run)
17:50 Medal Ceremony Teams
19:00 International Technical Officials (ITO’s) Reception
Competition Day 5, Finals / Teams
21 Jul 2013, Sunday
09:30 Forerunners K1W, C1M
10:00 U23 K1W, C1M Final
11:00 Junior K1W, C1M Final
12:05 Medal Ceremony
13:25 Forerunners K1W, C1M
13:30 U23 K1W, C1M Teams Final (single run)
14:50 Junior K1W, C1M Teams Final (single run)
16:20 Medal Ceremony Teams
17:00 Closing Ceremony
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