The Canoe Sprint racing season kicks off this weekend on 14-15 April, with the first National Sprint and Paracanoe regatta of the year taking place at the National Water Sports Centre in Nottingham.
A plethora of world class athletes will take to the water, with Olympic and Paralympic gold medallists racing to secure their places on the Great Britain team for the upcoming international season.
The results from the Paracanoe races this weekend will determine athlete selections for World Cup 1 and the Paracanoe European Championships, later this year.
Following their Grand Slam success last year, Emma Wiggs and Jeanette Chippington will be looking to once again defend their titles in Szeged and Belgrade.
Paracanoe Head Coach Scott Simon has praised the hard work put in by the entire squad over the winter leading up to the upcoming season.
The athletes have worked extremely hard, pushing each other over the winter and making incredible gains in the process. I'm excited to see the hard work translate to performances on the water, and the effort of athletes and coaches rewarded in a successful season.– Scott Simon, Paracanoe Head Coach
“With the IPC now confirming Paralympic qualification and Tokyo 2020 events we look forward to the season with a renewed focus and direction as we work together towards #Project9.”
The weekend will also see two-time K2 200m Olympic medallists Liam Heath and Jon Schofield being reunited on the water for the first time since the Rio 2016 Games, this time as part of the K4 selection race.
Results from this regatta will determine the crew boat selections for Senior World Cup 1 and World Cup 2, U23 and Junior European Championships and Piestany International.
Canoe sprint Head Coach Rene Olsen is looking forward to seeing some competitive racing over the two days.
He said, “I'm really looking forward to see all the crewboat racing over the weekend.
It has been great to see how all, from squad members to club athletes, have been embracing the crew boat focus over the winter.– Rene Olsen, Canoe sprint Head Coach
“I know all athletes and coaches has been putting a lot of hard work in through the last six months, and I hope everybody feels strongly prepared for an exciting 2018 season.
“With the hard competition for spots on the team I'm sure we will see some exciting and close racing over the weekend.”
The country’s best club athletes will also be taking to the water in a bid to come out on top in their age categories.
Further details on the selection process for 2018 events can be accessed by British Canoeing’s 2018 selection policies: www.britishcanoeing.org.uk/olympic-paralympic/policies/selection-policies
To view start lists and the schedule for the weekend, please visit the Sprint Racing Committee website http://canoeracing.org.uk/sprint/category/national/
The Individual boat Selection Event for the Canoe Sprint programme will take place at National Water Sports Centre on 28 April.