Olympic and World Champions leading the charge at 2019 Sydney International Whitewater Festival Day One

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Fox sisters impress on Opening Day of Canoe Slalom Australian Open

2018 World Champion and greatest individual slalom paddler of all time Jessica Fox (NSW) led the charge in the women’s C1 on the opening day of the 2019 Sydney International Whitewater Festival, taking home the win in the qualifying race. Sister Noemie Fox also impressed after finishing third in the C1 and fourth in the women’s K1.

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2016 Olympic Champions Denis Gargaud Chanut (FRA) and Joe Clarke (GB) took home the win in the men’s C1 and K1 respectively, while Germany’s 2018 World Championships bronze medallist Ricarda Funk led the charge in the women’s K1.

The world’s best Olympic canoe slalom paddlers are contesting the 2019 Sydney International Whitewater Festival at Penrith Whitewater Stadium which kicked-off today with a full day of qualifying in the women’s K1 and C1 and in men’s K1 and C1 at the Canoe Slalom Australian Open.

Denis Gargaud - Photo Scott Moorhen

Over 300 of the world’s greatest paddlers from over 30 countries, including Olympic champions as well as several Olympic and World Championships medallists, will compete against Australia’s best over the two-weekend event which also includes the selection trials for the Australian paddlers.

“It’s good to see how the international field is going this early in the season and to see where we are standing with the international guys, especially when you’ve got such big names out here,” Rio 2016 Olympian and Western Sydney local Ian Borrows said about the level of competition at the event.

Borrows finished overall sixth in the men’s C1 in the first qualifying race of the day with Tasmanian Daniel Watkins the top Australian in second place and with both paddlers going straight through to the final.

“I was really happy with my run and finished off in the top ten and was pretty happy with that result. It’s the second place for the Australian selection racing and I’m looking forward to the semis tomorrow,” Borrows said about the internal team ranking.

Ian Borrows - Photo Scott Moorhen

Kaylen and Lachlan Bassett (VIC) as well asStephen Lowther (WA) will join the Australian contingent in tomorrow’s men’s C1 semi-finals after securing qualification in the second run.

Noemie Fox was the top Australian performer in the heat of the women’s K1 finishing a strong fourth behind World Champions bronze medallist Ricarda Funk (GER) in first, Olympic silver medallist Luuka Jones (NZL) in second and former World Champion Jasmin Schornberg (GER) in first.

Noemie Fox continued her strong first day of competition with a third place in the women’s C1 behind heat winner and sister Jessica Fox and Jasmin Schornberg (GER) in second.

“I started off the competition with a great kayak run which gave me a win out of the Australian girls and put me in fourth overall. It was a really good day, because I’ve never really felt as confident and as strong in the kayak and then I also had a really good run in the C1 and finished third overall. So, it’s been a really good start to selection trials and just to the 2019 season in general,” a happy Noemie Fox said about her first day of competition.

“We have so many of the great international paddlers here this year. We are more than 300 athletes and in the kayak and in the C1 the best ladies in the world are here.

“And to finish so high up in the qualification against those paddlers is a big confidence boost. It’s a great world class event and harder than a World Cup because there are way more people, so it’s awesome to have that here at home,” Noemie Fox added about the event.

Rosalyn Lawrence (NSW) finished fifth in the women’s K1, with Jess Fox placing 13th after a challenging run with two gate touches and four seconds penalty. Tasmanian Kate Eckhardt finished 16th with all four Australians progressing straight through to Saturday’s K1 semi-finals. Alison Borrows (NSW) also qualified for the women’s K1 semi-finals after a fourth place in the second run.

In the women’s C1, Ros Lawrence, Kate Eckhardtas well as Alexandra Broomealso qualified for the semi-finals after placing sixth, 11th and 15th respectively. Western Australian Demelza Wall and Georgia Rankin qualified for the C1 semi-final in the second run.

Lucien Delfour - Photo JGR Images

The first day of competition concluded with the heats of the men’s K1 and Australian Rio Olympian Lucien Delfour (NSW) progressing through to the semi-finals as the highest ranked Australian in sixth place. Olympic champion Joe Clarke (GB) led the charge winning the heat ahead of Rio bronze medallist Jiri Prskavec (CZE) and U23 medallist Zeno Ivaldi (ITA) in third.

Racing at the 2019 Sydney International Whitewater Festival continues tomorrow, Saturday, 16 February 2019 with the semi-finals and finals in the men’s C1 and women’s K1.

Joe Clarke - JGR Images

Saturday will also see the wildwater and freestyle paddlers join the action.

The 2019 Sydney International Whitewater Festivalincludes a series of events to crown the 2019 Australian Open and Oceania Canoe Slalom Champions as well as the Australian and Oceania Freestyle Champions. It also includes the Wildwater Grand Prix 1 and 2.

The Australian Open Canoe Slalom as well as the Wildwater events are also ICF World Ranking events.

  • 15-17 Feb:
    • Australian Open Canoe Slalom (ICF Ranking Event)
    • Wildwater GP1 (ICF Ranking Event)
    • Freestyle Nationals
  • 22-24 Feb:
    • Oceania Championships Slalom
    • Oceania Championships Freestyle
    • Wildwater GP2 (ICF Ranking Event)

Entry to the event is free for spectators.

Follow live results here: http://bit.ly/19AusOpenLiveResults

More information: www.whitewater.paddle.org.au

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About the 2019 Sydney International Whitewater Festival

The 2019 Sydney International Whitewater Festival see the world’s best athletes competing at Penrith Whitewater Stadium at the largest international whitewater event in the Southern Hemisphere since the 2000 Olympic Games.

The best Olympic slalom athletes and a stellar line-up of World Champions and Guinness World Record holders will compete in an action packed, wet ‘n wild Whitewater Festival, showcasing the exciting and thrilling disciplines of canoe slalom, wildwater and freestyle canoeing.

Over 300 of the world’s greatest paddlers from over 30 countries, including several Olympic and World Champions, are competing against Australia’s best, with Australian slalom star, greatest female slalom paddler of all time and Western Sydney local Jessica Fox kicking off the international season on home waters.

The dual Olympic medallist and seven-time World Champion is spearheading Australia’s highly successful team when they take on the rest of the world in front of a home crowd at the Sydney 2000 Whitewater Stadium with less than 1.5 years to go to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.