Delfour and Watkins join Fox to target Tokyo 2020



Australian Canoe Slalom Paddlers win three Gold, one Bronze at 2020 Australian Open Canoe Slalom


It was a golden finish for Australia’s Olympic canoe slalom paddlers at the 2020 Australian Open Canoe Slalom with Rio Olympian Lucien Delfour (NSW) and dual Olympic medallist Jessica Fox (NSW) making it a daily double, winning the men’s K1 and women’s C1 respectively.

Lucien Delfour - Caramoda Photography

It was the second gold for Fox over the weekend after she also taking home the win in the K1 on Saturday. Also on Saturday, Daniel Watkins (TAS) added a bronze medal in the C1 men to Australia’s overall medal tally of three gold to wrap up a successful 2020 Australian Open on home waters.

With the event also doubling up as the final Olympic selection event for Australia’s canoe slalom men, Delfour also provisionally secured his Tokyo 2020 spot after qualifying as the only Australian for the top-ten K1 men final with a sixth place in the semi-final earlier in the day and finishing the event as the top-ranked Australian.

Already yesterday, Daniel Watkins provisionally secured his Olympic berth in the C1 men after also finishing as the top-ranked Australian and finishing the final in third place.

Pending official confirmation, nomination by Paddle Australia and selection by the AOC, five months out from Tokyo 2020, Australia’s canoe slalom team of three looks set after Jessica Fox already secured her Tokyo 2020 selection at the World Championships last year to represent Australia in both the women’s K1 and C1.


K1 Men
Two events were counting towards Olympic selection this month, with Lucien Delfour going into the final round at the Australian Open as the leader after his win at the first round of selections at the 2020 Oceania Canoe Slalom Championships in Auckland (1-3 February 2020).

Ahead of the semi-finals on Sunday, the Olympic door was again wide open though, after Tim Anderson (NSW) threw down a brilliant run in the heats on Friday to finish third, while Delfour finished eighth.

But going into Sunday’s semi-finals, Rio 2016 Delfour made it clear that he wanted his second Olympic ticket and put down a clean run in the semi-final to progress through to the final in sixth and only +1.08 seconds off the semi-final winner and 2019 World Champion Jiri Prskavec (CZE).

As the only Australian to make the top ten, Delfour had already secured the provisional Olympic berth ahead of the final. Watkins just missed out of the final in 12th while Anderson missed a gate that cost him dearly and saw him drop down the ranks and Delfour had it all locked in.

“It feels great to (provisionally) secure the spot for the Games, really thrilled to go to Tokyo. It is something I have been dreaming about for a quite a while now and obviously it’s such a relief. It is such a high mental pressure, even if I started with the win couple weeks ago in Auckland (Oceania Champs) it was still quite hard to perform again here in Penrith so I’m really happy with the win today,” Delfour said after the final.

In the final, the pressure was clearly off and Delfour impressed in a time 88.32 seconds to take the win +083 seconds ahead of Italy’s Rio Olympian Giovanni de Gennaro and Czech Republic’s Vit Prindis, 2017 World Cup winner in the K1, following in third.

“The mindset for the final was obviously quite different. I was quite relieved, and didn’t really have the (selection) pressure anymore so I felt like I could really attack, putting in more pressure on the boat and take more risks. I am really glad It paid off and I was really happy with the run overall not. I didn’t make too many mistakes and had really good speed overall.”

Pending final nomination, he will now join Watkins and Fox to target Tokyo 2020 in canoe slalom.

“I am really thrilled to be on the team with those two ( Dan and Jess). Funny enough, that was the team that went to the Tokyo test event few month ago. I don’t know if that is a coincidence. Jess obviously was already pre-qualified, but Dan and myself had to qualify ourselves this week end and I’m really happy to go to the Games with two mates.”

The 2020 Australian Open Canoe Slalom as part of the Sydney International Whitwater Festival was the final round of Paddle Australia’s canoe slalom national selection trials to confirm, who will be nominated to the Australian Olympic Committee for selection for Tokyo 2020 in the men’s events. The weekend of racing also decided the 2020 Paddle Australia canoe slalom teams, including World Cup, U23 and Junior teams with teams to be expected to be announced at the end of February.


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RESULTS, Sunday, 23 February 2020
WC1 Final results 
1 - FOX Jessica - AUS                       2          104.54             0.00
2 - VILARRUBLA Nuria - ESP            2          109.79             +5.25
3 - LUKNAROVA Emmanuela - SVK 0          110.68             +6.14
4 - HERZOG Andrea - GER               2          111.32             +6.78
5 - ECKHARDT Kate - AUS               0          112.50             +7.96
6 - FOX Noémie – AUS                      4          113.44             +8.90
MK1 Final results 
1 - DELFOUR Lucien - AUS               0           88.32              0.00
2 - DE GENNARO Giovanni - ITA      0          89.15               +0.83
3 - PRINDIS Vit - CZE                        0          90.96               +2.64
4 - KAUZER Peter – SLO                   0          91.38               +3.06
5 - IVALDI Zeno - ITA                         0          91.69               +3.37

RESULTS, Saturday, 22 February 2020
Men’s C1 Final
1- Benjamin SAVSEK - SLO              0          94.96   0.00    
2- Matyas LHOTA - CZE                    0          97.84   +2.88   
3- Daniel WATKINS - AUS                2          98.20   +3.24   
4- Marko MIRGORODSKY - SVK      0          98.31   +3.35   
5- Roberto COLAZINGARI - ITA        0          98.70   +3.74   
Women’s K1 Final
1- Jessica FOX-  AUS                       0          97.87   0.00     
2- Ricarda FUNK - GER                     4          99.84   +1.97   
3- Camille PRIGENT - FRA                0          103.71 +5.84   
4- Elena APEL            - GER              2          105.44 +7.57   
5- Eliska MINTALOVA - SVK             2          105.63 +7.76   
9- Kate ECKHARDT - AUS               2          110.76 +12.89