Prague – Czech Republic, Sept 12, 2013: The main event on the 2013 Canoe Slalom calendar has attracted a world-class field, with more than 360 athletes set to commence battle on the famous course situated to the northwest of Prague on the Vltava River.
This is the second time the World Championships have been hosted at the Czech Republic’s premier Canoe Slalom course, the first being back in 2006. The highly talented Czech team will be fierce competitors in each of the five events, and will be among the favourites when the competition gets underway on Thursday.
In the K1 Men, Peter Kauzer (SLO), the 2009 and 2011 World Champion, will face tough competition from the in form Fabian Dörfler (GER) and the European Champion, Jiri Prskavec (CZE).
Also in the mix are the Gold and Silver medalists from the London 2012 Olympic Games, Italy’s Daniele Molmenti (Gold) and Vavrinec Hradilek, the superstar of Czech paddling.
Olympic Champion Emilie Fer (FRA) is the one to beat in the Women’s K1. At the recent ICF World Cup in Bratislava, the 30-year-old outshone the rest of the field to win with a lightening quick run that exuded confidence.
Other contenders include the 19-year-old Silver medalist from the London 2012 Olympic Games, Jessica Fox (AUS); local legend and double Olympic Champion, Stepanka Hilgertova (CZE), Austria’s Corrina Kuhnle and the winner on the last occasion the World Championships were held in Prague, Jana Dukatova (SVK).
Slovakia’s Hochschorner brothers, Pavol and Peter, will look to dispel gossip that their grip over the C2 Men’s discipline is loosening following their recent loss of the ICF World Cup series title, a title they had held for the previous 12 years.
France’s Gauthier Klauss and Matthieu Peche now hold the series title and will hope they can translate their current form into a first World Championship Gold.
Silver medalists from the London Olympic Games, David Florence and Richard Hounslow (GBR) will also be looking to add further to their already impressive medal haul.
Local hope rests with the Beijing 2008 Olympic Silver medalists, Jaroslav Volf and Ondrej Stepanek (CZE).
Stanislav Jezek (CZE) could well have the edge in the Men’s C1 event, that is, if he can maximise the benefit of local knowledge on his home course.
However, the return of Michal Martikan (SVK) and the current form of David Florence (GBR), Sideris Tasiadis and Jan Benzien (GER) will undoubtedly make life difficult for the veteran paddler from the Czech Republic.
Jessica Fox will be the favourite coming into the Women’s C1, as the young Australian looks to cap off an almost perfect season in the single blade event. Her strongest opponent is likely to be her compatriot, Rosalyn Lawrence (AUS).
2011 World Champion, Katerina Hoskova (CZE) and Caroline Loir (FRA) are also strong challengers. The action starts on Thursday with finals on Saturday and Sunday.