Oceania Championships C1 and C2M Preview
Ian Borrows won the C1 Australian Open title last month
The 2014 Canoe Slalom Oceania Championships will be held at Penrith Whitewater Stadium from 21 to 23 February.
Racing will commence on Friday with the qualifications runs for each of the five disciplines.
The event will see athletes represented from 10 countries including European powerhouses France, Germany and Slovakia.
Some of the bigger names that will be in action include former French world champion Etienne Daille, German trio Jan Benzien, Sebastian Schubert and Jasmin Schornberg, Australian Open champion Michael Dawson of New Zealand, Slovakian cousins Ladislav and Peter Skantar and fellow compatriots Matej Benus and Katarina Macova.
This weekend’s event will hold additional significance for the Australian athletes who will be looking to secure their places on the 2014 Senior, U23 and Junior Teams.
Much of the spotlight is expected to centre on the Junior and U23 athletes with Penrith set to host the ICF Junior and U23 World Championships from the 23-27 April.
The C1M qualification runs will open the program on Friday morning from 10am AEST.
2013 C1 Team World Champion member Matej Benus and fellow Slovak Jergus Bandura, American Casey Eichfield and German pair Franz Anton and Jan Benzien will be the men to beat.
Penrith canoeist Ian Borrows produced his best career result a fortnight earlier winning the C1 final at the Australian Open.
The 24 year old will be brimming with confidence and will be looking for a repeat performance this weekend.
Little separated the top five men at Aus Open with Victorian Christian Fabris, NSWIS paddler Ethan Hodson and WAIS duo Kynan Maley and Robin Jeffery all vying with Borrows for three spots on the 2014 senior team.
Tasmanian Daniel Watkins and Victorian Jaxon Merritt are in the box seat to secure U23 National selection. The Australian pair will face stiff competition from American Zachary Lokken, Kiwi Ben Gibb and German Dennis Soeter for the U23 Oceania title.
The junior C1M title is set to be a battle between Western Australian trio Brodie Crawford, Steven Lowther and Nicholas Rankin, and Callum Gilbert of New Zealand who impressed at the Australian Open earlier in the month.
14 crews will contest the C2M event.
Veteran Slovakian pair Ladislav and Peter Skantar will be the men the beat. The cousins have won multiple World Championship, World Cup and European medals.
The C2M event will have a family feel with German duo Kai and Kevin Mueller and Japanese pair Shota and Tsubasa Sasaki set to feature.
The German crews of Robert Behling and Thomas Becker, and Mathias Westphal and Franz Anton will be the other international boats in contention for medals.
Robin Jeffery and Ethan Hodson will fly the Australian flag. The pair are un-rivalled as the best Australian C2 pair and will be looking to gain some more hours of racing following Hodson’s post season wrist surgery limiting their preparation.
Western Australian teenagers Brodie Crawford and Steven Lowther are expected to take out the U23 and Junior C2 titles.
Tomorrow we will take a look at the K1M event.
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