Canoe Slalom Continental Championships this weekend

Canoe Slalom Continental Championships this weekend

Staff Reporter

The Oceania Canoe Slalom Championships will be held at Vector Wero Whitewater Park, Auckland, from February 1 to February 3, 2020.

As an Olympic Selection event, it will bring together the best Oceania athletes.

The competition will be the first hit out this year between trans-Tasman rivals Luuka Jones, New Zealand and Jessica Fox from Australia.

Exceptional performance expected

As world number one in both the women’s K1 (K1W) and C1 (C1W), Fox will be hard to beat and it promises to be a great competition with exceptional international performances by both athletes.

In 2016, Jones placed second at the Rio Olympics followed by Fox and at the 2018 World Champs Fox took second place and Jones third.

Other women who will compete at the Oceania Canoe Slalom Championships and have already qualified for Tokyo Olympics, include Jane Nicholas (Cook Islands) and Martina Wegman, (Netherlands) in K1W.

Jones met the New Zealand selection criteria for K1W after finishing 3rd at the 2019 World Champs in Spain and earnt New Zealand a K1W quota.

Now Jones just needs formal nomination and selection by Canoe Slalom New Zealand and the New Zealand Olympic Committee.

She can also compete in C1W in Tokyo as she has met selection criteria in this class as well.

The race for the men’s K1 (K1M) spot for New Zealand is intense.

Young Kiwi, Jack Dangen earnt the K1M quota at the 2019 World Champs in September.

Currently rankings have Jack Dangen ahead of Callum Gilbert, followed by Finn Butcher and all three made 2019 World Cup semis, with Gilbert breaking through with a 2019 World Cup top finish of 5th.

Also in contention is young Zac Mutton who has made two junior world champs finals and is returning from injury.

Home advantage for New Zealand

The only Olympic quota to be decided at the 2020 Oceania Champs in Auckland is the C1M as no Oceania nation was successful at the 2019 World Champs.

Australia, New Zealand and Cook Islands will contest for the quota and on paper the Australians look to have the edge, but the New Zealanders will have the home course advantage.

A large contingent of Australians are expected at Vector Wero Whitewater Park across all age groups as its also Australian selection for national teams.

Many internationals and some who have already qualified for Tokyo are expected at the 2020 Oceania Champs.

Entries close on January 22, 2020. The following international athletes have already confirmed: Ander Elogesi, Spain, Men’s K1 (selected for Tokyo Olympics), Klara Ozalabel, Spain, Women’s C1

Cameron Smedley, Canada, Men’s C1 (selected for Tokyo Olympics), Michael Smolen, USA American Olympian, Camille Prigent, France, Women’s K1, Kaca Kudejova, Czech, Women’s K1 (former World Champion).

About the Championships

Oceania Championship is the continental champs for deciding the remaining quotas for Tokyo Olympics 2020. It is very important for New Zealand and Australia.

There are three selection events to decide who will represent New Zealand: 2019 World Champs,

2020 Oceania Champs and Australian Open Feb 2020.

Oceania Canoe Slalom Championships are a part of the build-up to New Zealand hosting the International Canoe Federation Junior and U23 World Champs at Vector Wero Whitewater Park, April 2021.

Photo Caption:

  1. Jack Dangen (Photo Supplied)
  2. Luuka Jones (Photo Supplied)

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