Road to London Leads Canoe Slalom Competitors to Bratislava, Slovakia

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The 2011 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships will be a star-studded event with all the top names in Canoe Slalom registered to compete. This years event will be held in the Water Sports Centre Cunovo in Bratislava, Slovakia from September 6th-11th. Because these Championships will serve as a qualifier for the London 2012 Olympic Games competition is high with over 400 athletes from 50 countries racing.

Slovakia, long known as a Canoe Slalom powerhouse, is also known for their fans, who are expected to have a vocal presence in the 8,000 seat grandstands. “Slovakia not only has the greatest Olympians in our sport, it has some of the most enthusiastic fans” said IFC 2nd Vice President Richard Fox. “So with World titles and Olympic berths up for grabs, we can expect an electric atmosphere and the best that slalom has to offer.”

Among the most intriguing matchups that will play out on the Cunova course next week is that of longtime C1 rivals and multiple Olympic and world title-holders Tony Estanguet (FRA) and hometown hero Michal Martikan (SVK). Martikan, with four Olympic medals, including two Gold medals, will be tough to beat on such familiar waters as the Cunovo channel, an offshoot of the River Danube.

This year’s World Championships will be Estanguet and Martikan’s third significant appearance together this season, after the Markkleeburg World Cup and the Olympic Test event last month. Other strongmen in this class include Martiken’s Slovakian teammates Alex Slafkosky and Matej Benus, not to mention the two German’s Nico Bettge and Jan Benzien ranked 2nd and 3rd respectively in the ICF Ranking, as well as Olympic Silver medalist David Florence of Great Britan.

In Men’s K1, look out for Vavrinec Hradlik (CZE), who finished this season’s World Cup series in second place, to be among the top spoilers in the epic rivalry between Peter Kauzer (SLO) and Daniele Molmenti (ITA). Kauzer, who has won three of hist last four races said recently at a press conference, ”There is no pressure before the World Championships; it’s a race as are all the others. At every race you have a start, finish and gates in between. You have to fight at every race, every course.”

Other top Slovakian athletes are expected to get an extra boost from hometown fans who are expected to have a vocal presence in the 8,000 seat grandstands. Headliners include the seemingly invincible three-time Olympic C2 Champions, twin brothers Pavol and Peter Hochschorner, and fellow countrymen, the cousins Peter and Ladislav Skantar. With help form Slovakian women such as Jana Dukatova and Dana Mann, Team Slovakia is hoping to set the foundation for what they hope will be a victorious home send-off to 2012 Olympic sucess.

Jana Dukatova and Dana Mann will have their hands full with the likes of their neigbor, Austria’s Corinna Kuhnle, the Spanish fire Maialen Chourraut and a strong showing from the Germans who will have three big shots at the podium with Melanie Pfeiffer, Claudia Baer and 2009 world champion Jasmin Shornberg. Also registered to compete in her home country is two time Olympic champion Elena Kaliska who is coming off a win at the recent Prague World Cup and a podium finish at the London test event.

For daily schedules and up-to-the-minute results of the 2011 Canoe Slalom World Championships visit the official website: CanoeSlalom2011.com and become a fan on Facebook.