The 2024 International Canoe Federation Canoe Slalom World Cup season begins this week in Augsburg, Germany, with athletes taking the opportunity for top level competition ahead of this year’s Paris Olympics.

Augsburg is one of just three World Cups ahead of the Games. Most of the world’s best athletes will be in action, especially in the kayak cross competition, where Olympic quotas are still available ahead of the event's Games debut in Paris.

In the women’s K1 the hotly-contested rivalry between the reigning world champion and the reigning Olympic champion will once again be one of the highlights of the weekend.

Australia’s Jessica Fox won the world title last year in Lee Valley, while Germany’s Ricarda Funk won Olympic gold in Tokyo. Fox is also a four-time world champion and has won two bronze and a silver at the Olympics, while Funk is also a two-time world champion. Between them they have won five of the past six K1 world crowns.

In the women’s C1, Fox will be aiming to begin her campaign to defend her Tokyo Olympic gold with a win in Augsburg. The Australian is a four-time world champion in the C1, but will face strong opposition from Great Britain’s 2023 world champion, Mallory Franklin, and Germany’s 2022 world champion, Andrea Herzog.

Almost 70 men will line up for the men’s K1. The big name missing from the start list is the reigning Olympic gold medalist, Jiri Prskavec from Czechia, but 2016 champion Joe Clarke from Great Britain will start.

Germany Ricarda Funk Augsburg slalom 2022

Czechia will still have strong representation, headed by three-time overall world cup winner and 2022 world champion Vit Prindis, while Italian Giovanni De Gennaro and 2016 Olympic silver medalist Peter Kauzer of Slovenia will also push hard for medals.

In the men’s C1 the great rivalry between Slovenian teammates Luka Bozic and reigning Olympic champion Benjamin Savsek will continue.

Also lining up will be former Olympic champions Denis Gargaud Chanut of France (2016), and veteran Michal Martikan of Slovakia. The 45-year-old won Olympic gold in 1996 and 2008.

Much interest will be focussed on the men’s and women’s kayak cross, which will make its Olympic debut in Paris. The final Olympic quotas will be determined next week in Prague, making this weekend’s contest in Augsburg a valuable final hit out.

A field of 81 athletes have signed up for the men’s event, with Great Britain’s three-time world champion Clarke once again the man to beat. His biggest threat may well come from the Swiss trio of Dimitri Marx, Martin Dougoud and Jan Rohrer.

A total of 60 women will line-up for the time trials, headed by 2023 world champion Kimberley Woods of Great Britain and two-time world champion Jessica Fox.

The ICF Canoe Slalom World Cup begins on Thursday and will run through to Sunday.

Full coverage of this week's event can be viewed on the Planet Canoe YouTube channel.

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Canoe Slalom
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