19 September 2017

More than 500 athletes from 57 nations are heading to Pau in France for the pinnacle of the 2017 canoe slalom and wildwater seasons next week, the biggest World titles ever contested.

The 2017 ICF Canoe Slalom and Wildwater Championships can boast almost every medallist from the 2016 Rio Olympics, along with previous World Champions and World Cup winners.

It’s the first time Pau has hosted the World Championships, and the first time both canoe slalom and wildwater have been combined.

The World Championships will be the culmination of a long season, especially for many of the slalom athletes who have competed in five World Cups, along with continental championships.

Along with men’s and women’s K1 and C1 events, there will be men’s C2, a mixed C2 event, and men’s and women’s extreme slalom events, an exciting new addition to the 2017 program.

There will also be team events in the K1, C1 and C2 disciplines.

In wildwater there will be athletes competing in both individual and team K1, C1 and C2 events.

Frenchman Denis Gargaud-Chanut, an Olympic gold medallist in the men’s C1 in Rio and a World Champion back in 2011, will face the added pressure of competing in front of an expectant home crowd.

“If I lose, it’s going to be hard to cash in, but if I win, it will be beautiful,” Gargaud-Chanut told a French newspaper last week.

“In any case the result will not be fatal, because the race, it is in Tokyo in three years time. And it is too far to say it will have an impact, either negative or positive, on my preparation.”

Men’s K1 gold medallist, Joe Clarke of Great Britain, women’s K1 gold medallist, Maialen Chourraut of Spain, and Slovakian cousins Ladislav and Peter Skantar in the C2 will be the other Rio winners competing next week.

None of the Olympic title holders are likely to start favourites in their events, after indifferent form over the 2017 season.

Germany’s Ricarda Funk has dominated the women’s K1 with four World Cup wins, Czech Vit Prindis won three men’s K1 World Cups, Germany’s Sideris Tasiadis was the most consistent performer in the C1, and Germany’s Robert Behling and Thomas Becker won the 2017 C2 World Cups title.

Pau will mark the first occasion women’s C1 has been contested as an Olympic event, with three-time World Champion Jessica Fox the pre-race favourite.

The 2017 ICF Canoe Slalom and Wildwater World Chmpionships begin on Tuesday. For more information, please visit our webpage. 

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