Athletes competing in canoe sprint events at the forthcoming World Cups

article about world cup athlete on sprint canoe

This weekend marks the beginning of the first of two ICF World Cups, and canoe sprint competitors from the United Kingdom will use it as the starting point for their 2022 season.

As they get ready for the World Championships in Halifax, Canada, and the European Championships in Munich later this year, the competitions provide a chance for fresh crew boat combinations to gather crucial race experience.

A new selection process that took place in April divided athletes into pools, and as contests were scheduled for back-to-back weekends, two teams would be traveling to each event to gather crucial racing experience as the squad prepared for the Paris 2024 cycle.

This weekend (20-22 May) in Racice, Czech Republic, will feature the maiden ICF Canoe Sprint World Cup as a squad of 14 prepares to race on foreign waters for the first time in eight months.

Leading the charge is Katie Reid (Forth), a Tokyo 2020 Olympian, who will compete in both the women’s C1 200m and the women’s C1 500m, both events in which she also participated in the Tokyo Games in 2018. On Friday in the C1 200m, Lincoln paddler Isabel Evans will start alongside Katie.

The team’s racing will get underway on Friday morning with the men’s K4 crew, which consists of Noah Dembele (Olympic Racing Squad), Trevor Thomson (Ealing), Lewis Fletcher (Linlithgow Kayak Racing), and Tom Lusty (Solihull). Later in the tournament, Tom and Lewis will also team up in the K2M 500m, with Lusty capping off his hectic weekend of competition with the K1 5000m on Sunday afternoon.

On Friday morning, the women’s K1 500m heats will feature Rebii Simon (Elmbridge) and Lucy Lee-Smith (Norwich), with Lucy also competing in the women’s K1 200m later that day.

While Richmond’s Anoushka Freeman will compete in the women’s K1 1000m and 5000m, Chelmsford’s Dan Johnson will compete in the men’s K1 1000m and K1 5000m.

Ieuan James (Forth) and Dan Atkins (Reading) will team up in the men’s K2 500m after both of them previously captured junior World Championship victories.

Similar to Tom, Reading paddler Anna Palmer will line up three times over the course of the weekend, twice in a solo boat as she prepares to race the women’s C1 1000m and 5000m, as well as the C2 500m alongside Sammy Sullivan (Wiltshire Youth Canoe Club), who is getting ready to compete at the senior international level.

Sammy, one of athletes said in a statement prior to her maiden World Cup

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A 12-person team will fly to Poznan, Poland, just one week later to compete in the second World Cup of the season. Some athletes will be returning for more international competition while others will be joining the team.

For the first time since the 2021 World Championships in Copenhagen, Tokyo 2020 Olympians Deborah Kerr (Anker Valley) and Emily Lewis (Worcester) team up with Emma Russell (Chelmsford) and Rebii Simon for the women’s K4 crew race.

Deborah, who made her Olympic debut in August of last year, is eager to return to the international starting blocks following the winter season of training.

Dan Johnson will start the men’s K1 1000m once more. This time, Tom Lusty will also be there with him and has added the occasion to his weekend agenda. Tom will team up with Lewis Fletcher once more for their second chance to compete as a K2 500m crew.

Dan Johnson and Noah Dembele will team up for the K2 500m.

Afton Fitzhenry of Belfast Canoe Club will start with Anna Palmer in the 500m and Katie Reid in the C1 200m.

Anna will complete her weekend with a C1 5000m final once more.

Trevor Thomson completes the men’s participation for the Polish weekend K1 500m.

James Train, Senior Technical Coach, said:

“For many of the athletes, this is their first chance to compete in World Cup races after the interruption over the past couple of years. These athletes shown strong winter training with their performances at the April selection regatta, and I am forward to watch them compete on a global scale.

Many new crew combinations are competing in the World Cups to acquire experience, and this opportunity for high-level racing will help athletes prepare for selection and the championship races later in the season.

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