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Fox returns to scene of London triumph

6 June 2014

CANOE/KAYAK: Olympic silver medallist Jessica Fox will lead a team of 11 Australians at the opening Canoe Slalom World Cup of the year at the Lee Valley course outside of London. 

It is the first international event at the venue since the Olympics and it holds a special place for Jessica Fox and Robin Jeffery. who both represented Australia at the London Olympics.

Fox especially knows what it takes to do well at the course after she made a name for herself winning Olympc silver in the K1W two years ago.

“It's a really demanding and heavy course with lots of stoppers so I think it's about really good stroke timing, good jumps to keep the boat dry and running and keeping it flat,” Fox said.

The 19 year old has begun the year in a blaze of glory winning two gold medals at the U23 World Championships on home soil in April.

At the first of five World Cups Fox is looking to produce some solid and consistent racing.

“I hope I can just paddle with good feeling and get a good flow on the boat and putting to play what I’ve been working on since last year,” Fox said.

Fox will contest the K1W and C1W events at the first World Cup.

The K1W field is littered with stars with all the European heavyweights contesting the opening World Cup.

Fellow London Olympic K1W medallists Emilie Fer of France and Maialen Chourraut of Spain appear Fox’s main rivals. Fer and Chourraut are currently ranked one and two on the ICF rankings.

Slovakian Jana Dukatova, Katerina Kudejova of the Czech Republic and German Jasmin Schornberg are just three out of a possible 15 that will fancy their chances of featuring on the podium.

Victorian Sarah Grant and Rosalyn Lawrence of New South Wales will also contest the K1W event.

Lawrence will also join Fox in the C1W event alongside Penrith paddler Alison Borrows.

Fox dominated the event last year winning gold at four of the five World Cups and enters the event ranked number one in the world.

Lawrence meanwhile is a former World Cup series winner and is expected to challenge Fox alongside Frenchwoman Caroline Loir, British paddler Mallory Franklin and Katerina Hoskova of the Czech Republic.

A large field of 55 athletes will contest the C1M event.

The opening World Cup holds significant importance for the Australian C1M who are looking to secure a berth at the senior World Championships.

Western Australian Robin Jeffery flew over a week earlier than the rest of the team, recognising the importance of the event.

“I really enjoy training and racing on the Olympic Course, which holds many fond memories for me,” Jeffery said.

“My first goal is to qualify for the World Champs. If I make the final in both classes it should assure me a ticket to deep creek.”

Joining Jeffery to fly the Australian flag will be Australian Open champion Ian Borrows and Victorian Christian Fabris.

European nations traditionally dominate the C1M event and the London World Cup looks no different with the top 15 ranked paddlers all coming from Europe.

British canoeist David Florence, Slovakian pair Alexander Slafkovsky and Matej Benus, German trio Sideris Tasiadis, Jan Benzien and Franz Anton, and Slovenian duo Anze Bercic and Benjamin Savsek are just a few big names to watch out for.

Jeffery will also contest the C2M event alongside Penrith canoeist Ethan Hodson.

The pair only formed last year and will be looking to build on their experiences just two years out from Brazil.

Slovakian legends Pavol and Peter Hochschorner, French pair Gauthier Klauss and Matthieu Peche, and Slovenian duo Luka Bozic and Saso Taljat will be the boats to beat.

Lucien Delfour was one of Australia’s most consistent performers in 2013 featuring in three World Cup finals which was highlighted by winning silver in Spain.

He will lead the Australian K1M which will also feature NSWIS kayaker William Forsythe and Victorian Jaxon Merritt.

All three paddlers have showed some strong signs leading into the event with Delfour winning the National Championship, Merritt taking out the Oceania Championships and Forsythe finishing second behind the pair at each event.

Delfour is currently ranked ninth in the world and will be looking to get off to a strong start at the first World Cup as he takes aim at cracking the elusive top five world ranking.

Frenchman Etienne Daille, German trio Sebastian Schubert, Fabian Doerfler and Hannes Aigner, Mateusz Polaczyk, Slovenian Peter Kauzer and European champion Jiri Prskavec of the Czech Republic will be the athletes to beat.

Keep a close eye on American Michal Smolen after he took out the U23 K1M World Championship on Australian shores in April.

Racing will commence on Friday and conclude on Sunday.

The K1M, C1W and C1M heats and semifinals will be contested on the opening day. Racing will get underway from 9am local time (6pm AEST).

Please follow the links below for more information.

Official website - http://london.worldcup.events.slalom.canoeicf.com/home
Start Lists - http://canoeliveresults.com/event/2014/lee-valley-london-icf-world-cup.php

Tom Collings
Australian Canoeing

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