Canada’s Sophia Jensen will be paddling for five medals when she makes the transition from junior to U23 at this weekend’s ICF junior and U23 canoe sprint world championships in Portugal.

Jensen dominated the women’s junior canoe competition in 2018 and 2019, winning the women’s C1 200, C1 500 and C2 500 at both events. This weekend in Montemor the 19-year-old will add the C4 500 and the mixed C2 500 to her busy schedule.

The step-up to U23 level will be a good test for Jensen, who has been biding her time behind Olympians and world champions Laurence Vincent Lapointe and Katie Vincent for hard-earned places on the Canadian team.

Among the challengers to Jensen will be Croatia’s Vanessa Tot, celebrating the milestone of becoming her country’s first female canoe sprint Olympian in Tokyo, and Georgia’s Mariami Kerdikashvili.

Other Tokyo Olympians lining up in Montemor include the Czech Republic’s Petr Fuksa, who finished second with brother Martin in the B final of the men’s C2 1000, and Italy’s Samuele Burgo, ninth in the men’s K1 1000 and 11th in the K2 1000.

More than 50 countries will be competing in Montemor, with every continent represented. Malaysia, Uganda, Puerto Rico and Venezuela are among the starters for the four-day competition.

The 2021 ICF junior and U23 canoe sprint world championships begin on Friday and will run through until Monday.

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