The paddle of Prague

World champion canoeist Jess Fox starts World Cup campaign tomorrow
Jessica Fox in Action © Brett Hemmings
By Josh Rakic

Her training camp at the London Olympics whitewater course complete, world champion canoeist and kayaker Jess Fox descended on Prague overnight in preparation for the start of 2015 IFC Canoe Slalom World Cup season this weekend.

The Prague event marks the first of the five events on the World Cup calendar between this weekend and the end of August, drawing the world’s best to compete and conquer ahead of the coveted World Championships in September.Like snow events, the “world cup” in the realm of canoeing is held as a series where as the World Championships is a one-off, more coveted event.

Nonetheless, Jess is as determined as ever to add the World Cup C1 and K1 titles to her bow after missing the final event of last year’s series and therefore the crowns.In the events she did contest, Jess was often the stand-out performer and a constant at the top of the rankings.
And coming off a mistake in the Under-23 final in Brazil that cost her the retention of her junior C1 title, Jess is more determined than ever to restore some gold to her already bulging trophy cabinet.

I’m really excited to be going to Prague again and can’t wait to get back on the start line

“It’s been a long few months of training camps and practice and I’m itching to get back to racing. I’ve had a tough training period in and out of the water but I know it’ll all be worth it come race.” Jess will start the women’s contest as the outright favourite after having claimed gold in every major individual event last year.

At 21, she’s considered the fiercest paddler in the sport and has dominated both the open and under-23 categories since 2012 when she took silver in the K1 at the London Games.

The K1 however, is where Jess is expected to face her stiffest competition with current world No.1 Corinna Kuhnle of Austria and Olympic champion Emilie Fer both scheduled to compete. And while Prague marks only the first of five events, a win against such fierce competition will go a long way in confidence stakes as Jess looks to claim overall World Cup honours and lay the perfect platform for her title defence at September’s World Championships. The contest also marks the start of the Olympic qualification season for Rio 2016.

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