Australia’s Canoe Slalom Team has the first opportunity to secure quota places for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games this week, when they compete at the 2023 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships in London from 19 – 24 September.
Taking place at the Lee Valley White Water Centre, which hosted Canoe Slalom at the London 2012 Olympic Games, Australia’s nine-athlete team will compete across individual kayak and canoe events, the new Olympic discipline Kayak Cross, and will join forces for the Team events.
Paris 2024 Olympic quota places will be up for grabs for the first 15 nations in the Men’s and Women’s K1 event, and the first 12 nations in the Men’s and Women’s C1 event.
The team will be headlined by four-time Olympic medallist Jessica Fox, who returns to the scene of her very first Olympic medal, K1 silver, from London 2012. Her Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 teammate Lucien Delfour will lead the charge for the men.
“London is definitely a course that I love, and I have good memories from London in 2012 winning that silver medal,” Fox said.
“We don’t race there often on the London course, but it’s the most physically demanding course, it’s also one of the most enjoyable to paddle on because there are so many features throughout the course.
“I think it will be a very exciting competition, the Brits are always very strong on their home course, so I’m looking forward to getting out there and battling it out,” she said.
Jess Fox and teammate Kate Eckhardt, will have the biggest program at the World Championships with the duo competing across the individual K1 and C1 events, Kayak Cross and K1 and C1 Team events. In the three-paddler Team events on the opening day of competition – a non-Olympic event that is unique to the Slalom World Championships – Jess and Eckhardt will be joined by Noemie Fox, who will also contest the Kayak Cross on the final day of competition. Noemie has chosen not to compete in C1 and K1 at the 2023 World Championships to ensure she remains eligible for the kayak cross Olympic quota qualification event in June 2024.
Kayak specialist Delfour will be joined by Tim Anderson and Ben Pope in the K1 Team, individual K1 and Kayak Cross events. Tristan Carter, Kaylen Bassett and Brodie Crawford will link up for the Men’s C1 Team event before chasing Olympic quotas in the individual C1. Carter will also compete in the Kayak Cross on Sunday.
Delfour said it’s always interesting to return to the UK Olympic venue, as the course provides some unique challenges.
“I raced for the first time in London in 2011 when I went to the Olympic Test Event,” Delfour said. “I really liked it. At the time it was a new course, it was the first of its kind, being a different shape and different length.
“It’s quite intense with a lot of big moves, which at the time was quite new, and also with the chlorinated water, it’s like paddling on a swimming pool which affects the water density which is a different feeling on the water.
“It’s certainly a different course to Penrith, quite intense and quite technical as the water is quite big.”
The Australian Team marched in the Opening Ceremony Street Parade on Sunday evening through the local streets of Waltham Abbey, with Noemie Fox named as the team Flag Beater, as voted by her peers.
The 2023 Lee Valley Canoe Slalom World Championships get underway with the Teams event on Tuesday 19 September. For the full schedule click here. The event will be streamed live on the International Canoe Federation Recast Channel – click here. For more information about the event – click here
AUSTRALIAN TEAM FOR 2023 ICF CANOE SLALOM WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Lee Valley White Water Centre, London
19 – 24 September, 2023
- Kate Eckhardt (TAS): K1, C1, KX, Canoe Team, Kayak Team
- Jessica Fox (NSW): K1, C1, KX, Canoe Team, Kayak Team
- Noemie Fox (NSW): KX, Canoe Team, Kayak Team
- Tim Anderson (VIC): K1, KX, Kayak Team
- Kaylen Bassett (NSW): C1, Canoe Team
- Tristan Carter (VIC): C1, KX, Canoe Team
- Brodie Crawford (WA): C1, Canoe Team
- Lucien Delfour (NSW): K1, KX, Kayak Team
- Ben Pope (WA): K1, Kayak Team