Former Olympians, Olympic hopefuls and a handful of athletes already lucky enough to have their ticket to this year's Tokyo Games will battle it out in Ivrea this week at the 2021 ECA Canoe Slalom European Championships in Ivrea, Italy.

The competition will also serve as the European continental qualifer for the Tokyo Olympics. The ECA's Nina Jelenc posted this preview..

Around 200 athletes from 27 European countries will compete from Thursday until Sunday and fight for the European Championships medals and the remaining spots for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
 
After one year of absence and missing out last year's European Championships in Prague, two powerhouses - Great Britain and Germany - are back in action to compare their form with colleagues from the rest of the continent.
 
Athletes from Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Spain, Estonia, France, Great Britain, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, North Macedonia, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Serbia, Switzerland, Sweden, Turkey and Ukraine are ready to finally take to the water.
 
 
There is one Olympic ticket available in each of the four categories - men's and women's kayak, and men's and women's canoe - and competition will be hot among nations desperate for a chance to get to the Games. The men's canoe event will be particularly intense, with two strong nations - Italy and Germany - still fighting for the spot.
 
Because of the Olympic qualifiers the ICF's progression system will be used, which means 40 MK1, 30 MC1, 30 WK1 and 30 WC1 boats will progress to the semifinal phase and the top 10 boats in each event of the semifinal will then advance to the final.
 
In addition to Olympic qualifiers and fight for the remaining four spots, many teams have their own internal Olympic selections at stake in Ivrea to determine which athletes will make their national Olympic teams.
 
The championships will start on Thursday afternoon with women's and men's kayak heats, on Friday morning women's and men's canoe heats follow, while in the afternoon the first sets of medals will be awarded to the best in team events.
 
On Saturday semifinal and final runs in both kayak events are scheduled, as well as extreme canoe slalom time trials, while on Sunday the championships will conclude with canoe semifinals and final (men's and women's) and the extreme canoe slalom competition.
 
Nina Jelenc
Canoe Slalom
Extreme Canoe Slalom
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