The stars of the future will be on full display this week when the International Canoe Federation hosts the U23 and junior canoe slalom world championships in Slovenia.

Paddlers who have their sights set on the Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028 will test themselves on one of the toughest slalom courses in the world, on the eve of the Tokyo Olympics.

Just one Tokyo-bound athlete – USA’s Evy Leibfarth – will compete in Tacen, opening the door for a plethora of world-class young athletes to gain important racing experience. A full programme of events, including team competitions and extreme canoe slalom, will be run over six days.

Every junior and U23 male C1 world champion since 2017 will be in action in Slovenia, including Slovakia’s three-time world champion, Marko Mirgorodsky. The 22-year-old was junior world champion in 2015 and 2016, and was crowned U23 world champion in 2017.

France’s Nicolas Gestin returns to defend the U23 world title he won in 2019, while Czech 2018 world champion Vaclav Chaloupka will also take to the whitewater again.

Slovenia’s Nejc Polencic won the junior world title in 2019, and steps up to U23 competition this year, while Spain’s Miquel Trave, a 2018 C1 junior world title holder, will contest both the canoe and the kayak competition.

Poland’s Kacper Sztuba, world junior champion from 2017, rounds out the list of former world champions who will contest a very open men’s U23 C1 competition.

In women’s canoe, two-time junior champion Gabriela Satkova gets her chance to take on the older age-group, a field which will include several athletes with senior world cup experience.

Likewise in the women’s K1, 2017 and 2019 ICF junior world champion Antonie Galuskova of the Czech Republic will finally get the opportunity to test herself against the U23’s, and will be joined by Slovenia’s 2018 junior world champion, Eva Alina Hocevar.

The women’s U23 kayak field is also full of athletes with strong senior form, including 2020 ICF world cup gold medalist Romane Prigent of France, and the highly rated German Elena Apel.

In the men’s K1, 2019 junior world champion, Anatole Delassus of France, and 2018 junior champion, Jan Barta of the Czech Republic, will line-up in the U23 competition against a field which includes Italy’s 2018 U23 world champion, Jakob Weger.

The 2021 ICF junior and U23 world championships begin on Tuesday with team competitions. The event will be live streamed on the ICF webpage.

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