French siblings Anatole and Marjorie Delassus used home-course knowledge to help them post fastest times in unofficial heats of the ICF canoe slalom world cup in Pau, France, on Friday.

Paddlers who have been starved of international competition this year took the opportunity on Friday to blow out some cobwebs, with every paddler guaranteed a start in this weekend’s semi-finals.

French paddlers finished fastest in three of the four disciplines, with Tokyo-bound Marie-Zelia Lafont and Marjorie Delassus quickest in the women’s K1 and C1 respectively, while Anatole Delassus was the fastest paddler in the men’s K1.

Ireland’s Liam Jegou posted the fastest time in the men’s C1, finishing ahead of Spain’s Miquel Trave and Czech Vaclav Chaloupka.

For Marjorie Delassus, the opportunity to race on her home course, safe in the knowledge she is going to Tokyo, has been worth the long wait in 2020.

She finished ahead of Brazil’s two-time Olympian and Tacen world cup gold medalist, Ana Satila, with Ukraine’s Viktoriia Us third fastest.

“I’m so happy to get to start here in Pau, which is my home course,” Delassus said.

“Today I was very relaxed. It’s crazy, I’m very happy to be going to Tokyo. I can’t believe it, it has been my dream. I’m very happy to be back in training and to keep working to be as good as I can.”

In the men’s K1 a gate touch for Switzerland's Martin Dougoud gave him second quickest time behind 19-year-old Delassus, with London 2012 silver medalist Vavrinec Hradilek of the Czech Republic third fastest.

Lafont also touched a gate but her raw time was still fast enough to leave her in the top position in the women’s K1, ahead of teammate Lucie Baudu and Czech Katerina Bekova.

Saturday will see the men’s and women’s K1 and the extreme canoe slalom finals, with the C1 finals on Sunday.

The ICF world cup is being run under strict health guidelines, with no crowds and close monitoring of the movement of athletes and officials.

Canoe Slalom