Olympic champions Jessica Fox and Jiri Prskavec have made the perfect start to the 2024 season with gold medals at the Oceania Slalom Championships in Penrith, Australia.

Fox picked up a two second penalty when she touched the very first gate in her final kayak run, but the Tokyo canoe champion still finished more than four seconds ahead of Poland’s Klaudia Zwolinska, with younger sister Noemie giving the Australians gold and bronze.

She said she feels ready for her next Games.

“It’s a privilege to be headed to a fourth Olympics and a privilege to be an experienced Australian Olympian now,” Fox said.

“I’m feeling good, I feel like everything is going to plan, but it’s really only starting, we haven’t even headed overseas yet. That’s when it will start getting to the pointy end and when you start to feel the nerves a bit more.

“I felt expectation and pressure in Tokyo, so I feel like that’s something I’ve already experienced. Coming into Paris I imagine it will feel the same, maybe a little bit more. I feel like I’ve had that experience and I’ve learned from that experience.”

Prskavec also broke through for his first K1 Olympic gold in Tokyo, and had to do it harder than Fox to win gold on Saturday. The Czech also had a gate touch, which closed the gap to French silver medalist Anatole Delassus to just 0.18 seconds.

Prskavec is part of a large international contingent which has moved to Australia for the Southern Hemisphere summer.

“I think it’s less pressure actually,” Prskavec said.

“That Olympic gold medal for every athlete is at the back of their head, it’s the top achievement they can do in their sport. I’ve done it, so now I’m just enjoying to be here, and still fighting for top positions.

“I don’t know how many more years I will be able to do it, fighting with the younger paddlers, so I’m just happy that I can just keep enjoying kayaking.”

Another Frenchman, Mathieu Biazizzo, took the bronze medal, while Timothy Anderson was the best placed Australian in a tie for fourth. The result puts Anderson in the box seat to earn selection to his first Olympics later this year.

Rio gold medalist Joe Clarke sat out Saturday's racing after receiving a blow to the face during kayak cross training. However he is expected to return to the water next weekend.

The Oceania Championships continue in Penrtih on Sunday with men’s and women’s canoe and kayak cross finals.


Canoe Slalom