A quality field headed by Olympic silver medallist Emma Jorgensen has set the scene for thrilling women’s K1 500 and 200 finals at the ICF 2017 U23 and Junior Canoe Sprint World Championships in Pitesti, Romania, this weekend.

Jorgensen, who won silver for Denmark behind Hungary’s Danuta Kozac at last year’s Olympics, qualified sixth fastest for Sunday’s 500 final behind Belgium’s U23 European champion, Hermien Peters, with New Zealand’s Aimee Fisher second fastest.

“This season has been getting better and better, my focus has been more on education, so my shape hasn’t been what it was supposed to be like,” Jorgensen said.

“My coach tells me when we get to the senior worlds I will be in the shape I was in the Olympics, so I hope so.

“There is some pressure, but I think the biggest pressure is from myself.”

Peters set an impressive 2:03:676 paddling into a strong headwind.

“It’s going to be interesting on Sunday,” Peters said.

“I’ve already had a good year, I’ve already won some medals at World Cups, I’m European U23 champion.

“I didn’t really train for this competition because my focus is on the seniors, so this is more like a hard training session.”

New Zealand’s Fisher is one of the most improved paddlers in the sport this year, having already strung together several impressive World Cup performances, including a silver behind Hungary’s Dora Lucz in the 200 metres.

As well as being second fastest in the 500 on Friday, Fisher was fastest in the heats of the 200, her time of 43.296 just ahead of Lucz in 44.143.

“It’s been awesome, I’m just making the most of every day,” Fisher said.

“It’s really exciting because there’s a lot of really cool young paddlers coming through at the moment, so it’s pretty challenging.

“There’s lots of good racing.”

Lucz said she was hoping to use this weekend as good practice ahead of the senior World Championships.

“It’s a step before the senior worlds, but I like racing so I’m happy to be here,” Lucz said.

“My World Cup win gave my confidence, now I believe I can do this. But I also know I have to work. The girls here are very fast.”

In other results, Ukraine’s Oleh Kukharyk was fastest in the men’s U23 K1 500, ahead of Belgium’s Artuur Peters, while Hungary qualified fastest for the final of the men’s U23 K4 500.

Germany was the quickest in the men’s junior K4 500, while Russia’s Arina Anoshkina and Svetlana Chernigovskaya were the fastes in the women’s U23 K2 500.

Alena Nazdrova and Kamila Bobr were the fastest qualifiers in both the U23 C2 500 and C2 200 women’s event, but Hungary’s Virag Balla was the quickest in the heats of the women’s U23 C1 200, with Canada’s Katie Vincent second and Nazdrova third.

Lithuania’s Henrikas Zustautas shaded Olympic medallist Isaquias Santos of Brazil in the heats of the men’s U23 C1 200.

The first finals of the ICF U23 and Junior Canoe Sprint World Championships will be contested on Saturday.

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