Aussie Olympic Paddling Selection
Five months out from the Tokyo 2020 Games, Olympic and Paralympics team selections are set to be decided in Penrith over the next couple of weeks when Paddle Australia’s Olympic and Paralympic team selections heat up at the Sydney 2000 Olympic venues of the Sydney International Regatta Centre (SIRC) as well as at the Penrith Whitewater Course.
Bernadette Wallace & Josephine Bulmer - Photo Bence Vekassy
First up next week will be the 2020 Oceania Canoe Sprint Association Championships and Paddle Australia Canoe Sprint Grand Prix 2 at SIRC (14-16 February 2020) which will decide the remaining Olympic quota spots in the women’s kayaking as well as the women’s and men’s canoeing events.
The event will also be the first out of two national selection trials for Olympic, Senior and U23 national teams. The second and final round of the 2020 national selection trials will be part of the Paddle Australia Canoe Sprint Championships at SIRC in March (11-15 March 2020).
In canoe sprint, Australia already secured six Olympic quota spots in the men and four quota spots in the women events as well as four Paralympic quota spots at last year’s ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships, with up to two spots remaining in the women’s kayaking as well as in the women’s and men’s canoeing events.
160 athletes from ten countries have entered the event and in the women’s kayaking events Australia, New Zealand, Cook Islands, Palau and Samoa are the Oceania countries who will battle it out over the quota, while the women’s canoeing Oceania quota will be decided between Australia, New Zealand and Samoa.
It is the first time that women’s canoeing events have been included in the Olympic Games program and South Australian Sports Institute’s Bernadette Wallace and Josephine Bulmer will be vying for the spot.
Securing the quota spot will only be the first step though with all paddlers also having to meet international performance standards to be considered for the team.
During the national selection trials at the 2020 Paddle Australia Canoe Sprint Grand Prix 2 as well as the 2020 Paddle Australian Canoe Sprint Championships in March (11-15 March 2020) Australian athletes will have the opportunity to qualify for the Olympic, Paralympic, U23 and Junior teams.
Athletes will be nominated to the Australian Olympic Committee and Australia Paralympic Committee for selection with team expected to be announced the week after the sprint championships.
While canoe sprint will kick off their selection series next week, Australia’s top canoe slalom paddlers have already completed one of the two selection relevant events with the Oceania Canoe Slalom Championships in Auckland wrapping up on Monday. See media release here: https://paddle.org.au/2020/02/03/clean-sweep-for-canoe-slalom-paddlers-at-oceania-championships/
The team will head into their second and final national selection round at Penrith Whitewater Stadium in two weeks’ time as part of the 2020 Sydney International Whitewater Festival (21-23 February 2020).
The Australian Paddle team already secured the maximum quota spots per country for the Tokyo 2020 men’s K1 and women’s C1 and K1 events at the 2019 World Championships, and added the final quota spot in the men’s C1 event at the Oceania Championships last week.
Paddle Australia’s dual Olympic medallist and most successful canoe slalom paddler of all time, Jessica Fox, is the only Paddle Australia athlete already selected on to the Tokyo 2020 Australian Olympic team and after winning both the women’s K1 and C1 at the Oceania Champs last week, Fox is looking to make it another double on home waters.
The Australian Open have once again attracted a strong international field including multiple Olympic medallists and World Champions.
While Fox is already selected, Australian canoe slalom representatives in the men’s K1 and C1 are yet to be confirmed. Only one country spot and thus only one athlete spot is available per event, which will be hotly contested in Penrith.
Tasmanian Daniel Watkins as well as Rio Olympian Lucien Delfour (NSW) are in the lead going into the final selection round after winning the men’s C1 and K1 at the Oceania Championships respectively, but with another two races to count for selection, it really is anyone’s game.
National selection trials will confirm, who will be nominated to the Australian Olympic Committee for selection for Tokyo 2020, plus will decide 2020 canoe slalom teams, including the World Cup, U23 and Junior teams, as well as Olympic reserves. Teams expected to be announced at the end of February.