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Canoe sprint athletes set to take on upcoming World Cups

Britain’s canoe sprint athletes will kick off their 2022 campaign this weekend as the first of two ICF World Cups start this weekend. 

Palmer Sullivan 002

The events are an opportunity for new crew boat combinations to gain valuable race experience as they prepare for the World Championships in Halifax, Canada and the European Championships in Munich, later this year. 

With a new selection format taking place in April, athletes were selected into pools and, with the competitions taking place on back-to-back weekends, two teams will be heading out to each competition to gain valuable race experience as the team builds for the Paris 2024 cycle.

ICF Canoe Sprint World Cup 1 in Racice, Czech Republic, will take place this coming weekend (20-22 May) as a squad of 14 gear up to compete on international waters for the first time in eight months.

Leading the way is Tokyo 2020 Olympian Katie Reid (Forth), who will be taking on both the women’s C1 200m - the same event she competed in at the Tokyo Games last year - as well the women’s C1 500m. Lincoln paddler Isabel Evans will also line up alongside Katie in the C1 200m on Friday afternoon.

It’s the men’s K4 crew of Tom Lusty (Solihull), Lewis Fletcher (Linlithgow Kayak Racing), Trevor Thomson (Ealing) and Noah Dembele (Olympic Racing Squad) that will kick-start the racing for the team, up first in the 500m heats on Friday morning. Tom and Lewis will also combine later in the competition in the K2M 500m, with Lusty concluding his busy weekend of racing in the K1 5000m on Sunday afternoon.

Rebii Simon (Elmbridge) and Lucy Lee-Smith (Norwich) will both compete in the women’s K1 500m heats on Friday morning, with Lucy also racing the women’s K1 200m later the same day. 

Dan Johnson (Chelmsford) will race the men’s K1 1000m as well as the K1 5000m, whilst Richmond’s Anoushka Freeman will take on the women’s K1 1000m and 5000m.

Having both previously won junior World Championship titles, Ieuan James (Forth) and Dan Atkins (Reading) will join forces in the men’s K2 500m.

Like Tom, Anna Palmer will line up three times across the weekend, twice in a solo boat as the Reading paddler prepares to race both the women’s C1 1000m and 5000m, as well as taking on the C2 500m with Sammy Sullivan (Wiltshire Youth Canoe Club), who prepares to make her senior international debut.

Speaking ahead of her first World Cup, Sammy said:

Just one week later, a 12-strong squad will travel to Poznan, Poland to compete in the second World Cup of the series, with a number of athletes returning for further international action, as well as some joining the fold.

Tokyo 2020 Olympians Deborah Kerr (Anker Valley) and Emily Lewis (Worcester) return to the international stage for the first time since the 2021 World Championships in Copenhagen, they combine with Emma Russell (Chelmsford) and Rebii Simon for the women’s K4 crew racing.

And, having made her Olympic debut in August last year, Deborah can’t wait to be back on the international start-line again after winter training.

Dan Johnson will once again line up in the men’s K1 1000m. This time he will also be joined by Tom Lusty who adds the event to his schedule for the weekend. Tom will once again join Lewis Fletcher for a second opportunity to race together as a K2 500m crew. 

Noah Dembele will combine with Dan Johnson for the K2 500m.

Katie Reid will line up in the C1 200m, this time joined by Belfast Canoe Club’s Afton Fitzhenry, who will also race the 500m alongside Anna Palmer.

Anna will once again cap off her weekend with a C1 5000m final.

Trevor Thomson rounds off the men’s involvement for the weekend in Poland in the K1 500m.

Senior Technical Coach, James Train, said:

“After the disruption over the last couple of years, this is the first opportunity to race World Cups for many of the athletes. Performances at the April selection regatta showed that these athletes have had a good winter's preparation and I am looking forward to seeing them race on the international stage. 

“There are a number of new crew combinations racing through the World Cups looking to gain experience and this high level racing opportunity will allow athletes to hone their processes ahead of selection and the championship races later in the season.” 

Racing gets underway from 8:00am UK time, with a full live stream and start-list found here

The full squad for the upcoming World Cups can be found here

Four paracanoe athletes will also be heading to the second World Cup in Poznan, with the competition being used as a development opportunity for athletes to gain international race experience. Linsday Thorpe takes on her first international race in the women’s KL3 having raced previously in the VL3, with Llinos Owen making her international racing debut in the same event. Also racing internationally for the first time are Ed Clifton in the men’s VL2 and Jon Tarrant who competes in the men’s KL3.  A full preview of the paracanoe racing will be published next week.