Ready Set Tokyo: Paddlers Kick Off Tokyo 2020 Season on Home Waters

WC1 FINAL 170219

With just under 200 days until Tokyo 2020, Australia’s best Olympic and Paralympic class paddlers will kick off the Olympic and Paralympic Games season on home waters with several state and national championships and national selection trials on the calendar over the next couple of months.

Australia’s canoe slalom paddlers will be up first and will be vying for national titles at the 2020 Paddle Australia Senior Canoe Slalom Championships at Penrith Whitewater Stadium this weekend (10-12 January 2020). The nationals will be a welcome racing opportunity ahead of canoe slalom team selections and Oceania Olympic qualifiers in February.

The Australian Paddling 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, but will still be looking to earn a quota in the men’s C1 event.  National selection trials will then confirm who will be nominated to the Australian Olympic Committee for selection.

Paddle Australia’s dual Olympic medallist and most successful canoe slalom paddler of all time, Jessica Fox, is the only athlete already selected on to the Tokyo 2020 Australian Olympic team. This will give Fox the opportunity to focus on her preparation for Tokyo 2020 where she will have the chance to go for double gold in the women’s K1 and C1.

Fox will be contesting the nationals as well as the Australian Open on home waters before heading overseas for more training in Tokyo and the ICF Canoe Slalom World Cup season.

Internal team competition across the other classes is set to heat up over the next couple of weeks with the Australian canoe slalom representatives in the men’s K1 and C1 yet to be confirmed and with only one country spot available per event.

Rio Olympian Lucien Delfour secured Australia the men’s K1 quota spot at the ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships in September last year, but names on seats will only be decided following the national selection trials in February.

Lucien Delfour - Photo Bence Vekassy

Lucien Delfour – Photo Bence Vekassy

In the men’s C1 event, more is still at stake with the 2020 Oceania Canoe Slalom Championships in Auckland, New Zealand (1-3 February 2020) the last chance to secure Australia the quota spot and with the event also counting towards national selection for both the K1 and C1.

The 2020 canoe slalom teams, including the U23 and Junior teams, will be finalised at the Australian Open, which is part of the 2020 Sydney International Whitewater Festival (SIWWF) at the end of February (21-23 February 2020), with teams expected to be announced at the end of February.

The national championships this weekend will be the first opportunity for World Champion team paddler Daniel Watkins (TAS) as well as Rio Olympian Ian Borrows (NSW) to set an early mark and to impress selectors in the men’s C1 with only a few weeks left to prepare for the Oceania qualifier. Both are expected to be put under pressure by up and coming youngster Steven Lowther as well as fellow Western Australian Brodie Crawford and Tristan Carter (VIC) who are also pushing for the top.

Watkins - Photo Bence Vekassy

Dan Watkins – Photo Bence Vekassy
Daniel Watkins will double in both the men’s K1 and C1 for a chance to make his first Olympics in one of the events, while fellow national team paddler Tim Anderson will also aim to put pressure on both Delfour and Watkins as he prepares for national selection trials.

While not relevant for senior team selection the Canoe Slalom Senior Championships together with the Sydney International Whitewater Festival are a relevant selection event for Junior team selection.

The Senior Canoe Slalom Championships start at Penrith Whitewater Stadium on Thursday with the Extreme Slalom Events with the individual events starting on Friday, 10 January with the heats, while semis and finals are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday (11-12 January). Team events will be contested on Sunday.

For more info see here:

In the canoe sprint disciplines, Paddle Queensland State Championships will be up first this weekend (11 January 2020), followed by the Paddle New South Wales State Championships next weekend (18-19 January 2020). Both events will be welcome racing opportunities ahead of the national selection relevant events in February.

In canoe sprint and paracanoe, Australia has already secured six Olympic quota spots in the men and four quota spots in the women events as well as four Paralympic quota spots.

WK4 - Photo Steve McArthur

WK4 with Alyssa Bull, Jaime Roberts, Alyce Burnett, Jo Brigden-Jones – Photo Steve McArthur

Athletes will have the opportunity to qualify for these teams during the upcoming national selection trials, which will include the Paddle Australia Canoe Sprint Grand Prix 2 (GP2) in February (14-16 February 2020) as well as the 2020 Paddle Australian Canoe Sprint Championships (11-15 March 2020) with both events scheduled to take place at Sydney International Regatta Centre (SIRC) in Penrith.

While all the Olympic men kayaking quota spots are already secured, the women’s team will have the chance to secure up to two additional quota spots at GP2, which also doubles up as the 2020 Oceania Canoe Association’s Canoe Sprint Continental Championships and Olympic Qualification event. Also up for grabs at this event will be a quota spot in the women’s canoeing events, the class that will premiere on the Olympic program in Tokyo 2020.

WC2 with Bernadette Wallace & Josephine Bulmer - Photo Bence Vekassy

WC2 with Bernadette Wallace & Josephine Bulmer – Photo Bence Vekassy 

Both the Olympic and Paralympic canoe sprint teams are expected to be finalised at the end of March 2020.

See a full list of Olympic & Paralympic canoeing events below



  • 1-3 February 2020, 2020 Canoe Slalom Oceania Championships, Auckland NZL (Quota spot relevant)
  • 8-10 May 2020, ICF Canoe Sprint World Cup 1, Racice, CZE
  • 21-24 May 2020, ICF Canoe Sprint World Cup 2 Duisburg, GER
  • 21-24 May 2020, ICF Paracanoe World Championships, Duisburg, GER
  • 5-7 June 2020, ICF Canoe Slalom World Cup 1, Ivrea, ITA
  • 12-14 June 2020, ICF Canoe Slalom World Cup 2, Pau, FRA
  • 3-8 August 2020, Olympic Canoe Sprint Regatta, Tokyo, JPN
  • 3-5 September 2020, Paralympic Games Regatta, Tokyo, JPN
Next articleFox, Watkins and Delfour Take Home National Titles at Canoe Slalom Season Starter