The first ICF Canoe Slalom World Cup event of 2017 will see all but two of last year’s Olympic medallists, along with a who’s who of previous World Champions and Olympic finalists, competing on the famous Troja venue in Prague.

The gold, silver and bronze medallists from the men’s and women’s K1 events will all be competing, along with the gold and bronze medallists from the men’s C2 and the second and third place finishers from the men’s C1.

Many of the athletes have been back in training and competing for several months, with many having head down-under at the start of the year for the Australian Open, and have since been competing in national, European championships and selection trials.

Men’s K1 gold medallist, Joseph Clarke (GBR), women’s K1 gold medallist, Maialen Chourraut (ESP), and the men’s C2 gold medal pairing of Ladislav and Peter Skantar will all be lining up in Prague.

Two-time Olympian, Stanislav Jezek (CZE), is on the organising committee for the Prague World Cup.

“It is always a big challenge to host such an important event, even if you have already done it many times,” Jezek said.

“Because we are first this year we have no experience from previous weekend what to improve. So you have to prepare the event very carefully and not underestimate any part of organisation.”

There will be a strong local representation in Prague, including world champion and Olympic bronze medallist, Jiri Prskavec. Teammate Vavrinec Hradilek said it is a special moment for the athletes.

“It’s always so exciting to race in front of the home crowd,” Hradilek said.

“Especially with my memories from the past races here. I love it. I live it. 

“Slalom has strong depth of history in the Czech Republic and it is reinforced with the recent successes of few athletes.

“Good organisation of international races in Troja is also having a positive effect.”

Jezek said there are good reasons canoe slalom continue to thrive in the Czech Republic.

“Because we are working on it,” he said.

“We have a long tradition and also very successful athletes.  We focus to be very professional in training and organising, but still friendly to each other and stay modest even when we have Olympic medals in our sport.”

The ICF Canoe Slalom World Cup 1 begins in Prague on Friday, June 16.

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