The 2015 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships gets underway at the Lee Valley White Water Centre in Hertfordshire this week, the 14-strong British team is ready for action.
Since the end of the World Cup series the paddlers have been back on home waters and putting the final touches to their preparations, which has included a full race simulation event on the Olympic course, complete with race commentary. This was followed by a busy media day and then a team-building event, getting everyone fired up to take on the very best in the world.
Canoe Slalom Head Coach, Paul Ratcliffe is looking forward to the worlds, which are the main focus of the 2015 season, as well as celebrating how the magnificent Lee Valley white water facility has played a critical role is the development of the sport from grass roots to high performance.
“2012 is now a distant memory as the focus now sharpens towards Rio with the Games less than 12 months away, but these World Championships will ensure that our legacy is alive for canoe slalom.
“We have youngsters inspired by the London Games now paddling on the Olympic course on a daily basis, that will be flag bearers at the event and we have an amazing team of volunteers who will ensure we put on a high quality event for athletes and spectators alike.
“For the British team, we expect these World Championships to be the most competitive event of the cycle and a great opportunity for our athletes to perform to the best of their abilities in front of a home crowd. We have worked hard on our preparations and everyone starts from zero on Wednesday. Nothings is a given in canoe slalom, you have to fight for every clean gate and medals are hard earned. All we are focused on is taking it one gate at a time and making the most of every moment to maximise our performances.”
The first canoe slalom world championships in the UK for 20 years will see around 300 paddlers from 55 countries descend on Lee Valley over the next few days for the most important event of the year, which takes place 16-20 September.
Supported by UK Sport as part of their National Lottery funded #EveryRoadtoRio series, this year’s world championships have the added significance of being the qualification event for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, as well as the first London 2012 legacy facility to host a world championships.
John Anderson MBE, British Canoeing Performance Director said:
“We are absolutely delighted to welcome the worlds’ best canoe slalom athletes to Lee Valley for the 2015 ICF World Championships.
“This is the first of the London 2012 Olympic legacy venues to host a world championships and it will be fantastic to have the opportunity to recreate the amazing atmosphere we witnessed here in 2012, thanks to the support of our partners at the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority and UK Sport.
“With the added excitement of Olympic qualification also at stake I am sure the athletes will pull out all the stops and we will see some amazing paddling. Good luck to everyone competing!”
Britain will have three entries in each of the five boat classes (C2, K1W, C1M, C1W and K1M) and hoping to re-live the 2012 Olympic dream will be medallists Etienne Stott, David Florence and Richard Hounslow along with 11 other British hopefuls.
Check out our guide to each event over the next few days!
David Florence (Lloyds Register) & Richard Hounslow (Independent)
Mark Proctor (Stafford & Stone) & Etienne Stott (Viking)
Adam Burgess (Stafford & Stone) & Greg Pitt (Stafford & Stone)
Fiona Pennie (CR Cats)
Lizzie Neave (Stafford & Stone)
Kimberley Woods (Rugby) (U23)
David Florence (Lloyds Register)
Ryan Westley (Lower Wharfe)
Adam Burgess (Stafford & Stone)
Mallory Franklin (Windsor & District)
Kimberley Woods (Rugby)
Eilidh Gibson (Strathallan)
Joe Clarke (Stafford & Stone) (U23)
Richard Hounslow (Independent)
Bradley Forbes-Cryans (CR Cats)
up 5 – Silver & C2 – Bronze
* Richard Hounslow, C2: World Cup 5 – Bronze
* Joe Clarke, Men’s K1: World Cup 5 – Silver