Five of the medalists from the London 2012 Olympic Games will return to Lee Valley this weekend for the opening ICF canoe slalom world cup of the 2019 season.
Adding to the glamour, all three gold medalists from the Rio 2016 Olympics will also be in action as the journey towards Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualification picks up speed.
In 2012 German Sideris Tasiadis and Slovakia’s Michal Martikan picked up silver and bronze respectively in the men’s C1, while another German, Hannes Aigner, won bronze in the men’s K1 on the Lee Valley course.
In the women’s K1, a teenage Jessica Fox won silver for Australia while Spain’s Maialen Chourraut took bronze. Four years later the Spaniard won gold in Rio, while Fox picked up the bronze.
Joe Clarke will lead the charge for the home team in Lee Valley this weekend. He won K1 gold for Great Britain in Rio, and has maintained his strong form in the subsequent two years.
David Florence, a silver medalist in the men’s C2 at the London Olympics, will lead a strong British trio in the men’s C1. In 2015 Florence won the C1 world title when the championships were held at Lee Valley, an event that also doubled as an Olympic qualifier.
Mallory Franklin will be hoping for a golden double for Great Britain when she steps out in the women’s K1 and C1 events. Franklin is one of several female athletes who will compete in both, with C1 set to make its Olympic debut next year.
Australia’s Fox will be the athlete to catch in the C1, after she went through 2018 undefeated in the discipline and finished with a stunning world championship title in Rio.
Frenchman Denis Gargaud Chanut won C1 gold in Rio, contemplated retirement, but is back and ready to launch an assault he hopes will provide him with the chance to defend his gold medal in Tokyo.
Only one Olympic medalist from Rio, Japan’s Takuya Haneda in the men’s C1, will be absent this weekend, giving the competition an almost world championship-strength line-up.
The opening ICF Canoe Slalom World Cup begins in Lee Valley on Friday and runs through until Sunday.
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