World's best juniors to make their mark at Bratislava World Champs

More than 400 athletes from close to 50 countries, including Olympic medallists and finalists, will compete in the 2017 ICF Canoe Slalom U23 and Junior World Championships in Bratislava, Slovakia, this week.

Heading the honour board is two-time Olympic medallist and multiple world champion, Australia’s Jessica Fox, who is competing at her final under age World Championships.

The women’s C1 and K1 fields look particularly strong, with Fox certain to be challenged by British duo Kimberley Woods and Mallory Franklin, Brazil’s Ana Satila and Austria’s Viktoria Wolffhardt, who have all been prominent at this year’s K1 World Cups.

All of the above athletes will also contest the C1, where Czech Tereza Fiserova will also be watched closely.

In the men’s events, Italy’s Raffaello Ivaldi, who has already been on the World Cup podium this year, 2016 U23 champion Florian Breuer of Germany, French two-time junior world champion, Cedric Joly, and Czech Lukas Rohan, will set the scene for an epic U23 C1 event.

In the K1, Olympic finalist Jakub Grigar will need hometown support to help him take on a strong field which includes junior world champion, Mario Leitner of Austria, and 2016 U23 champion Ruslan Pestov, of Ukraine.

In the men’s C2, 2016 junior world champions, Vojtech Mruzek and Albert Kaspar of the Czech Republic, head a small but even field.

As always the junior fields will be wide open, with several new faces and new countries represented for the first time. 17-year-old Sona Stanovska is one of strong medal prospects for the host nation in both the women’s C1 and K1 events.

“Of course I think everyone wants to win, but if not this, I would like to win some medals, hopefully in both events,” Stanovska said.

“In Slovakia it’s the best sport we have, but not many people do it. I think we have a strong team though.

“I think it’s expensive, and if we want to be good we have to spend time in winter in New Zealand or Australia, and not many people have money for this.”

The 2017 ICF Junior and U23 Canoe Slalom World Championships begin on Tuesday afternoon.

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