Olympic and World Champions to contest “biggest ever” Canoe Slalom Australian Open

Olympic and World Champions to contest “biggest ever” Canoe Slalom Australian Open at Penrith Whitewater Stadium, 16 – 18 February 2018

Australian Olympic medallist paddler Jessica Fox (NSW) headlines a stellar line-up of Olympic and World Champions from around the world to compete at the 2018 Canoe Slalom Australian Open at Penrith Whitewater Stadium from Friday, 16 to Sunday, 18 Februray 2018.

The event on the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games Canoe Slalom course has attracted record numbers of 269 starters from sixteen countries and will showcase some of the best slalom paddlers in the World, including a team from Japan, the host country of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“I think it’s our biggest Oz Open ever with almost 270 entries and I’m really looking forward to racing this weekend with so many internationals out here. It feels like a World Cup and a really big race and it’s one of the biggest international races of the year here in Australia. It’s great to get the chance to compete against the best in the World right here on our home course at this time of the year,” an excited Jessica Fox said.

The 2018 Canoe Slalom Australian Open is the second international canoe slalom event of the year for Australia’s paddlers following the Canoe Slalom Oceania Championships,

Auckland, New Zealand at the end of January (Jan 27 – 29 2018). Results from both events count towards selection to the 2018 Australian Slalom Team.

“It’s also our selection races, so it’s really important to put down some good runs,” Fox explained. “At a World Cup you can usually ease into it with the qualifications, but here we’ll have to be on it straight away and it’s the finals that will count. But even making it into that final will be a challenge, because we have such a big field,” the Penrith local added.

“We have 65 entries in the women’s K1 and 38 entries in the women’s C1, which is fantastic and I’m sure we will see some tight racing. I’m really looking forward to it and hope we’ll get a bit of public to come out here to support us and to watch the Aussies take on the rest of the world.”

At the event, which is free to the public, Jessica Fox will race both the Olympic women’s K1 and C1. A three time World Champion in the C1 (2013, 2014, 2015), Fox will have the chance for a rematch with 2017 World Champion Mallory Franklin from Great Britain, who has made her way down under for the event.

In the women’s K1, Fox’s London 2012 silver and Rio 2016 bronze medal event, the reigning World Champion will line up against Rio 2016 silver medallist Luuka Jones (NZL) as well as 2015 World Champion Katerina Kudejova (CZE) and 2009 World Champion Jasmin Schornberg from Germany. Amongst Australia’s strong line-up and vying for selection are also 2017 World Championships Team medallists Rosalyn Lawrence (NSW), Kate Eckhardt (TAS) and Noemie Fox (NSW).

In the men’s events 2016 Olympic Champion Joseph Clarke from Great Britain and 2017 World Champion Ondrej Tunka, plus 2017 World Cup Winner Vit Prindis will be leading the charge in the men’s K1. The high-calibre field of 98 starters also includes 2016 Olympic Silver medallist Peter Kauzer from Slovenia as well as 2012 Olympic silver medallist Vavrinec Hradilek (CZE) and 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Hannes Aigner from Germany.

The men’s C1 will see 2016 Rio Olympic gold medallist Denis Gargaud Chanut from France as well as four time Olympic medallist Matej Benus from Slovakia take on the international field of 65 starters.

Amongst the Australian competitors are Olympian and K1 Oceania Champion Lucien Delfour (NSW), who won the K1 event in New Zealand with teammate and 2018 Australian National Champion Daniel Watkins (TAS) finishing third. Watkins also won silver in the C1 in Auckland and is looking forward to racing the international competition on home waters.

“I’m really excited about the level of competition and looking at the start list, it’s not far off from the European racing we do at World Cups. It will be really exciting to race on a home course and see how it stacks up against the European World Cups, before the start of the overseas season for us,” Watkins said.

“I’m feeling really good going into this event, which will be the final selection event for the Australian Team. I had a good start in New Zealand and I hope to make the team and have some good racing this weekend,” the Tasmanian added.

The 2018 Canoe Slalom Australian Open carries ICF (International Canoe Federation) ranking points and will kick-off on Friday, 16 February 2018 with heats. The men’s C1 and women’s K1 finals scheduled for Saturday, 17 February 2018, while the men’s K1 and women’s C1 finals are scheduled for Sunday, 18 February 2018.

The 2018 Canoe Slalom Australian Open are supported by Colonial Hotel, Kennards Hire and Trim’s Fresh Fruit Shop.

For more about the event see here

See full schedule here 

Start Lists can be viewed here

Live Results can be followed here: http://bit.ly/18AusOpenLiveResults

Follow the Australian Canoeing Team

Instagram: @auscanoe

Facebook: @AustralianSprintSlalom / @australiancanoeing

Twitter: @AusCanoe

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