Olympic Canoe Slalom Selection to Heat Up at Australian Open Canoe Slalom
The world’s best Olympic canoe slalom paddlers have arrived in Sydney to contest the 2020 Sydney International Whitewater Festival at Penrith Whitewater Stadium this weekend (21-23 February 2020).
Jessica Fox - Photo Bence Vekassy
Exactly five months out from the start of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Jessica Fox, Australia’s dual Olympic medallist and greatest individual slalom paddler of all time, will be spearheading Australia’s highly successful team when they take on the rest of the world on home waters at the 2020 Australian Open Canoe Slalom.
Over 300 of the world’s greatest paddlers from 23 countries, including several Olympic and World champions and medallists, will compete against Australia’s best with the Australian Open Canoe Slalom also doubling up as the final Australian Olympic and national team selection event.
While Jessica Fox already secured her ticket to Tokyo 2020, the men’s C1 and men’s K1 Olympic spots are yet to be decided. With only one country spot and thus only one athlete spot available per event, the men's C1 and K1 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 at the start of February, but with another two races to count for selection this weekend, 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 are expected to be announced at the end of February.
The Australian Open Canoe Slalom, as part of the Sydney International Whitewater Festival, is an International Canoe Federation (ICF) world-ranking event with the best international slalom paddlers making the most of Australia’s summer and the world-class Sydney 2000 Olympic Penrith Whitewater Stadium in their preparation for the Games.
The stellar international line-up amongst others includes Olympic medallist Jiří Prskavec (CZE) who is also the reigning men’s kayak world champion as well as Olympic medallists Peter Kauzer (SLO), Luuka Jones (NZL), Jessica Fox (AUS) as well as Hannes Aigner (GER).
In the women’s events, 2019 K1 and C1 world cup winner and world championships silver medallist Jessica Fox will have the chance for a rematch with Germany’s 2019 C1 world champion Andrea Herzog in the C1 as well as with Rio Olympic silver medallist and 2019 world championships bronze medallist in the K1 Luuka Jones from New Zealand.
Also at the start line will be amongst others 2019 World Champion in the men’s C1 Cedric Joly (FRA), silver medallist Ander Elosegi (ESP), men’s K1 2019 World Championship silver and bronze medallists David Llorente (ESP) and Joan Crespo (ESP).
The canoe slalom competition will start on Friday, 21 February with heats. Semi-finals and finals in the men’s C1 and women’s K1 are scheduled for Saturday, before Sunday will see the women’s C1, mixed C2 and men’s K1 semi-finals and finals.
The 2020 Sydney International Whitewater Festival will be the largest international whitewater event in the Asia Pacific this year celebrating the 20-year anniversary of the Sydney 2020 Olympic Games. The event will also include the 2020 Paddle Australia Freestyle Championships.
A great selection of Australia’s and the world’s best whitewater paddlers will contest the 2020 Paddle Australia Freestyle Championships with the freestyle events spearheaded by three-time world cup champion and Guinness World record holder Jez Jezz (NSW) as well as Australia’s first ever Junior world championships medallist Jack Newland (VIC). Japan’s World Cup Champion Suematso Yoshiko will also be contesting the event and will be up against Great Britain’s eight-time world champion Clare O’Hara.
The freestyle competition will start Saturday afternoon, 22 February with heats and with finals to follow on Sunday in between the canoe slalom semi-finals and finals.
Entry to the 2020 Sydney International Whitewater Festival is free for spectators.