In the lead up to the 2014 Australian Open and National Slalom Championships commencing on Friday Australian Canoeing will take a look at each of the five disciplines and who we expect to challenge for the medals and push their claims for National selection.
Today we will focus on the C1M and C2M events.
The C1M event look set to be an intriguing battle with Robin Jeffery from Ascot in Western Australia determined to put in another strong Australian Open performance after finishing second behind German star Franz Anton in 2013.
Since returning to Australia after placing 28th at the World Championships in September Jeffery says his training has been going great and is looking forward to making a bigger impact on the international scene in 2014.
“Training has been great since coming back from world champs. I feel like I have found a new level of focus and developed a technique that will be fast and durable in all environments”, Jeffery said.
“My result at the Australian Open gave me a lot of confidence last year. This year, my goals are set on the international season. I will use the Aus Open to fine tune my race prep for later in the year.”
One of Jeffery’s most fierce rivals will be fellow London Olympian Kynan Maley who returns for his first race since finishing seventh at last year’s Australian Open.
NSWIS canoeist Ian Borrows has been a regular member of the senior C1M setup for multiple years now and could be set for a launch up the ICF rankings in 2014. Borrows finished 2013 in a flurry recording some impressive performances at the ICF World Cups with his 11th place finish in Bratislava evidence of his potential.
Victorian Christian Fabris will be out to retain his senior status by finishing top-three starting at the event this weekend but will face strong competition from a host of exciting new talent coming through the ranks.
One of those younger athletes who will be looking to take the next step is Ethan Hodson.
2014 will see the NSWIS canoeist make the step up from under 23 to seniors with Hodson set to celebrate his 24th birthday in February.
Coached by Nick Smith, Hodson will be looking to improve on his eighth place finish at the Australian Open last year to secure a maiden senior C1 berth.
With Penrith set to host the ICF Junior and U23 World Championships in April, this weekend’s event will act as the first of three selection trials to determine who will compete on the international centre stage.
Tasmanian Daniel Watkins has long been earmarked as a future senior athlete after some impressive results as a junior athlete.
The 17 year old completed the double at last year’s Youth Olympic Festival in Sydney winning gold in the junior C1 and K1 events.
Western Australian pair Brodie Crawford and Steven Lowther will be another two to keep a close eye on after representing Australia at the 2013 ICF Junior World Championships.
The C2M event will be dominated by Jeffery and Hodson. The pair will enter their second year as a crew in 2014 after Hodson replaced Maley in the C2 boat following the Olympic year.
The pair’s best international performance in 2013 came at the second World Cup in Germany when they finished 13th in the semifinals.
Despite a few interruptions leading into this event Jeffery is confident of improvement looking ahead to 2014.
“Ethan (Hodson) had another operation on his wrist in September, so we haven't had much time in the boat together. However, I feel that we have learnt a lot outside the boat and have started to implement new techniques which will pay off”, Jeffery said.
“Unfortunately there isn't a competitive C2 scene in Australia currently. It would be great to have another serious C2 to train and compete with, so I encourage anyone who is interested to have a go.”
Tomorrow we will take a look at who will be competing in C1W with Jessica Fox and Rosalyn Lawrence set to fight it out for gold.
Please follow the links below for more information regarding the Australian Open and National Slalom Championships which will be held at Penrith Whitewater Stadium from 24-26 January.
|Australian Open website|
|Official Schedule & Race Handbook|