The ICF canoe slalom world cup program returns this weekend after a mid-season break, and for several countries the three days of competition at Markkleeberg, Germany, will significantly shape their Olympic selection programs.

The Germans are one of the countries who will use this weekend’s event, the fourth world cup of 2019, as part of their Olympic selection process. Of particular interest will be the men’s C1, where reigning world champion Franz Anton will take on London 2012 silver medalist Sideris Tasiadis.

Tasiadis, a two-time overall world cup winner, won the C1 at the opening world cup of the season in Lee Valley, but Anton followed up with a victory of his own one week later in Bratislava.

Olympic qualification is restricted to one athlete per country per event, setting up an epic battle between the two German canoe paddlers.

A similar battle is looming among the German women’s C1 squad, with Jasmin Schornberg, Andrea Herzog and Elena Apel.

Herzog has enjoyed the best overall season of the trio, but currently sits equal with Apel in the race for a place in Tokyo.

Herzog is looking forward to racing at home this weekend.

“This course is tricky and it’s really technical, so I love it,” Herzog said.

“I train here two times a day. I’m excited this is part of our Olympic qualifiers, but I am trying to concentrate on the world cup and not think too much about it.

“I’m really happy with my year so far, its been great that I’ve been making finals, so I hope I canhold that form.”

Many of the biggest names in world canoe slalom will be in action this weekend, including reigning Olympic champions Denis Gargaud Chanut of France in the men’s C1, and Maialen Chourraut of Spain in the women’s K1.

Reigning women’s C1 and K1 world champion Jessica Fox of Australia will compete. The women’s K1 field is full of quality, including German Ricarda Funk, Italian Stefanie Horn, Austrian Corinna Kuhnle and the in-form Czech, Amalie Hilgertova.

The women’s C1 field includes U23 world champion, Ana Satila of Brazil, and Czech Tereza Fiserova.

In the men’s K1, Czech’s Jiri Prskavec and Vit Prindis, Slovenia’s Peter Kauzer, Germany’s Hannes Aigner and Italy’s Giovanni de Gennaro head a quality field full of Olympians and world championship medalists.

Once again Slovakia’s big three, Alexander Slafkovsky, Michal Martikan and Matej Benus, head the men’s C1 field, with Slovenia’s Benjamin Savsek and Luka Bozic, the Germans’ Anton and Tasiadis, and Gargaud Chanut all in the hunt.

The fourth ICF World Cup begins on Friday.

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