French sport can relax and the French Olympic team rejoice; one of its most emblematic characters, Olympic and World Champion, Denis Gargaud, has announced he will look to defend his Rio gold at Tokyo 2020.

Gargaud, triumphant in the C1 at the 2016 Games, has decided to extend his career to the Tokyo Games in 2020. The Marseillais will celebrate his 33th birthday on the fourth day of the next Summer Olympics, an anniversary that he dreams of celebrating by presenting himself at the top of his form on the river of white water in the Japanese capital.

Despite his success in Rio, Gargaud did not want to rush a decision on his paddling future.

"I had just arrived at the bottom of the final of the Rio Games, and I had only one idea - go back to the start and start again ," he said. 

"This idea has never left me. The desire to prolong has always been present in my mind, but I needed to consult my relatives, my coach, my partners. 

"Such a decision will have a significant impact on my daily life and my career. Being able to announce it today will free me on the water. "

His passion is intact, his motivation as strong as the first day, as well as his willingness to train. But he does not intend to reproduce identically the path and the approach that led him to the Olympic C1 title in August last year.

"I need something new, I am determined to be bold in my preparation and competitions, " he said. 

He is still teaming up with coach Benoît Peschier, himself Olympic K1 champion in slalom at the Athens Games in 2004, but in K1, in a partnership which began in November 2015.

But the rest is different. A new boat, a different technical approach, and a geographically more diverse preparation.

Gargaud spent much of January in Dubai, one of his training grounds, and then went on a three-week internship in Australia, In March, on the Penrith Olympic River, not far from Sydney.

He remains based in Marseille, where he performs physical and physiological work, but he plans to go to Pau, on the site of the 2017 World Championships, to work in the technique. 

"I think I have gained the strength to change my habits by staying on top ," he said. 

"I am curious to see how I will react to this new approach . A new page to write. A project to rebuild. Very soon."

Meanwhile on the water the opening day of the French National Slalom Championships produced many interesting results.

In the C2 men's, the duo Gauthier Klauss / Matthieu Peche won the two races against Hugo Cailhol / Nicolas Scianimanico, Ruyet / Pierre-Antoine Tillard and Pierre Picco / Hugo Biso.

For the women, there is not yet a well-established hierarchy. The first race went to Cécile Tixier, ahead of Ella Bregazzi. In the second race, Lucie Baudu managed to win ahead of Claire Jacquet after they finished 11th and 5th respectively in race one.

In the men's division, Boris Neveu and Mathieu Biazizzo are tied at the end of the first day, with a victory and a second place for each. Sébastien Combot completed the leading trio of the second race, after fourth place in the openig race.


Canoe Slalom