Aussie Rio Olympians return to Brazil for Canoe Slalom Worlds
25 September 2018
CANOE/KAYAK - SLALOM: Five-time world champion and Olympic silver and bronze medallist Jessica Fox will return to Rio this week as part of a nine-strong Australian team to compete in the 2018 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships.
Fox is the most in-form canoe slalom paddler in the world this year, having created history by winning both the C1 and K1 World Cup crowns this season, as well as going through an entire C1 World Cup campaign undefeated.
She is also the back-to-back defending K1 World Champion and will be looking to take out the C1 title this year, after missing out at the 2017 World Championships in Pau, France.
“This is the last race of the year so I am excited to give it everything and put it all out there to be on the podium in both events," Fox said.
"I will need to take it one day at a time and manage recovery well. It’s a very long program and it’s going to be very hot so hopefully that is an advantage for us Aussies.
“It’s been a great season and to win all five (World Cups) in C1 is something that’s never been done. To take out the overall in both categories was very exciting and shows that I’ve had a really consistent year,” Fox added about her incredible success this year.
Rio 2016 teammates Lucien Delfour and Ian Borrows will both be looking to use that knowledge to make their mark this week.
Delfour comes to Rio in some of the best form of his career, winning a silver medal at the World Cup Final in La Seu, Spain earlier this month, his first world cup medal since 2015.
“To be honest, in our sport we can't expect a certain result, as it is too unpredictable, one can only hope. In my case I'm hoping to come home with a medal,” Delfour said of his expectations for the World Championships.
On being back in Rio he added, “Paddling back here after two years has been a lot better than I anticipated. Rio is a very hard course and it took me a few days, but now I finally have a better feeling of the course that I did during the Olympic Games.”
Ros Lawrence was a spectator in Rio, but is thrilled to be racing on an Olympic course in both the K1 and the C1.
“It’s a little bit of a thrill to see what it’s like,” she said.
“I was there in 2016 spectating, unfortunately, but it was a good time. I think they are going to put on a good event here.”
Her 2018 season has not been what she had hoped, but knows it is this week that is important.
“The World Championships are the races that people remember, it’s what our funding is based on, there’s always a bit more hype for the Worlds,” Lawrence said.
“So yes, it’s exciting. I’m not super happy with my results so far, but it’s the Worlds that count, so we will see what happens. There’s some very good competition out there, so I’ll just do what I can.”
Like Lawrence, World Championships teammate Daniel Watkins is excited to be racing for the first time on the Olympic course.
“This trip has been my first to Rio and my first time paddling on the Olympic course from 2016. It’s really cool to be racing on the Olympic course after watching the Games on TV and finally comparing the course to what we saw on TV and TV never does a venue justice. It's taken some time to get used to a completely new course, but it’s been really fun too and it’s a great venue,” Watkins said.
Watkins will be contesting both the C1 and K1 and is aiming to first of all make his first World Championships semifinal.
The other members of the Australian World Championships team are Tim Anderson (NSW, K1M), Brodie Crawford (WA, C1M), Kate Eckhardt (TAS, K1W) and Noemie Fox (NSW, C1W).
Daniel Watkins, Jessica Fox and Ros Lawrence have also been entered into the slalom extreme cross events.
The 2018 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships run from 25 September - 29 September 2018.