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Junior and U23s return to international slalom competition with World Champs

Britain’s top junior and U23 canoe slalom athletes are gearing up to face top international paddlers from around the world, as they kick-start their season with the 2022 ICF junior and U23 World Championships in Ivrea, Italy.


A 24-strong British squad will line up at the Ivrea course, with six days of competition taking place for 400 athletes between 5-10 July, starting with teams finals, before going into the individual canoe slalom and rounding off with extreme on Sunday.

Coming into the competition as U23 World Champion, Beth Forrow (Lee Valley) leads the way in the U23 women’s C1 event. The Lee Valley paddler was pre-selected for the team based on her achievements last season and is looking forward to getting back into international competition after injury over the winter.

Beth will be joined by Sophie Ogilvie (CR Cats) who has a good amount of international experience to her name already this season having raced senior World Cups 1,2 & 3 as well as the European Championships in May.

Ellis Miller makes up the trio in Ivrea who races’ her second U23 World Championships having finished ninth in 2021.

In the men’s K1, Jonny Dickson’s silver at the U23 World Championships last season means he was pre-selected in the men’s K1 for the 2022 season and leads the trio for the upcoming week of racing

Ben Haylett (Holme Pierrepont) joins the team for his second U23 Worlds after claiming four race wins in selection earlier this year, whilst Etienne Chappell (Seren Dwr), a 2019 junior European medallist will be in action for his first U23 competition. 

Currently embarking on his first international season on the senior circuit, Megan Hamer-Evans (Seren Dwr) will also lead the line for the U23 women’s K1 team. Megan will be joined by Phoebe Spicer (Lee Valley) who also has senior experience this year having finished 25th in World Cup 3. Lois Leaver (Edinburgh Schools) will be on the start-list and comes into the competition with a silver in the teams event at last year’s European Championships.

All six kayak U23’s will also line up in the extreme slalom taking place on Sunday.

Joining the six in extreme slalom will be 2021 U23 World Champion Nikita Setchell (Holme Pierrepont). An impressive selection campaign secured Nikita the senior and U23 additional extreme place and she will look to build on her campaign in the senior World Cups this season.

Jake Brown (Tees Tigers) will line up as the additional athlete in the men’s competition. Again Jake had a strong showing at the selection event and has had some senior experience already this season at World Cup 3 in Tacen.

Completing the U23 squad will be the men’s C1 athletes of Kurts Adams Rozentals (Stafford & Stone), Peter Linksted (Stirling & Falkirk) and James Kettle (Lee Valley).

Peter goes into the competition as top boat as he also sits as third boat for the seniors after an extremely tight selection between the trio back in April.

James Kettle will take on his first U23 season, with the Lee Valley paddler having had good experience in both junior and senior competitions, including World Cup 3 in Tacen this season.

Kurts Adams Rozentals completes the team and will be looking to build on a strong 2021 campaign where the Stafford and Stone paddler just missed out on the final at the World Championships.

In the juniors, the trio of Arina Kontchakov (Lee Valley), Katie Shattock (Taunton) and Zoe Blythe-Shields (Independent) will line up in both the women’s C1 and K1 for the event as they prepare to race individually on Thursday.

All the three athletes will be making their World Championships debut in Ivrea after showing some excellent performances during selection weekend at Lee Valley. The trio are all provisionally on the start-list for the extreme taking place on Sunday.

Another junior trebling up in K1, C1 and extreme will be Ed McDonald (Holme Pierrepont). Ed is gearing up for his first World Championships and first international in all three boats, having raced in Solkan at the junior European Championships last year.

Ed is looking forward to his first World Championships: 

Completing the junior men’s K1 line up in both canoe and extreme slalom will be Sam Leaver (Edinburgh Schools), who managed five wins out of six in selection, as well as achieving his first international final at the junior European Championships last year. He will be joined by Oscar Wyllie (Breadalbane) also taking on his first World Championships.

Ben Brown (Holme Pierrepont) and Hannah Rhodes (Lee Valley) will be the additional junior extreme slalom paddlers for the Brits, after winning selection in May.

In the men’s C1, Phil Smith (Winchester & District) and Sonny Shevill (Lee Valley) will join Ed on the start-line, again both making their World Championships debut.

You can follow all the action from across the week at Planet Canoe - with teams finals kick-start proceedings for Britain.