Solkan will host European junior and U23 Canoe slalom Championships.

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Only one important international competition in the season 2012 is still ahead of slalom paddlers. The Europe’s best Junior and U23 competitors will show their skills in Solkan, Slovenia, this week. Slovenian team will be among the strongest at this Championships, defending five gold medals they’ve won at last year’s European Championships in Banja Luka.

The Slovenian slalom team has an excellent opportunity to enrich its medal collection this week. The slalom course in Solkan will host the European Junior and U23 Canoe Slalom Championships. Slovenian team defends as much as five gold medals from last year’s Championships which was held in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the junior category Simon Brus and men’s kayak team won a gold medal, while in U23 category Olympian Eva Terčelj, Anže Berčič and Luka Božič – Sašo Taljat became European Champions.

“My goal is a medal, but this will be a real challenge with such a tough competition and also my level of preparation isn’t as good as it used to be, because I struggled with injuries this season. All competitors will have an equal opportunity, but it is true that Slovenians might have a little advantage, because we race here every year,” said Simon Brus, who injured his shoulder in the winter while he was skiing and suffered another injury in the summer during training when we received a hard blow into his ribs. Because of that injury he had to miss out the Junior and U23 Canoe Slalom World Championships in USA. Brus won’t defend his junior title, because this is his first season in the U23 category where he will face some tough opponents. Apart from Slovenians Brus, Martin Albreht and Matic Štrukelj also this year’s overall World Cup winner Etienne Daille of France will start, as well as his compatriot Vivien Colober, Czech Jiri Prskavec, Rafal Polaczyk of Poland, Italian Lukas Mayer and Martin Halčin of Slovakia all with experiences from World Cup series.

The first favourite of men’s U23 canoe event will be the defender of the title Anže Berčič, who won his first ever medal at the World Cup last weekend in Bratislava. But he’s more concerned with his academic career than canoeing these days. He needs to return to the faculty of sport next week to complete his obligations: “I’ll have to attack. I have no advantage, because the European title was won last year. I’ll try my best, but the water is very low and the course is much longer, so it will be harder. The competition is similar to last year’s. But now I’m more focused on my studies than canoeing, because I don’t want to lose my scholarship and I want to make progress in my studies as well. There was no time for that before, but on Monday I have to return to the Faculty.” Jure Lenarčič and Blaž Cof also aim for top positions.

In women’s kayak event we can expect an interesting race as well. Eva Terčelj who represented Slovenia at the London Olympics will defend her European title from Banja Luka, but will have to work hard to retain her title. Third placed from the World Cup race in Prague Ricarda Funk (GER), Maria Clara Giai Pron (ITA), Nouria Newman (FRA) and others will all present a great challenge.

Luka Božič and Sašo Taljat, 3rd in this year’s overall World Cup standings, also have a clear goal for this Championships in front of the home crowd. “The medals in the world cup increased our motivation after the Olympics. We are well prepared. We prepared for this race at the World Cups as well. This will be our last common European Championships in the U23 category. We have a clear goal – to repeat last year’s success. We’ll do anything to win,” said Luka Božič. Sašo Taljat explained in a joke why this will be their last start at the U23 European Championships: “I’m getting old. It’s about time to stop paddling. I hope we’ll retain our good form and relaxation we had at the world cup races. I think we could be happy at the end.”

The organizers of the Championships are experiencing some problems these days. The low river lever of Soča forced them into a slight change of programme. Wishing to ensure equal conditions for all competitors also the nearby power plant will help with water regulation, but since it can work this way only for a limited time, the programme has been shortened with smaller staring intervals.

355 boats from 27 countries will start at the Championships, and together with other team staff more than 500 people are now present at the venue. Due to an extremely large number of competitors the organizers decided not to change the course after the heats. The same course will stay for heats, semifinals and finals as well as for team races. The team events will consist from one run only.

The championships will start today with an Opening Ceremony at the main square in Solkan with a teams parade and will conclude with a concert of Vlado Kreslin, one of the most popular Slovenian singers. The competition will start on Thursday. Saturday’s U23 finals will also be aired live at Slovenian national television (TV SLO 2), while U23 team events will be organized under the flashlights, starting at 18.45 local time.

Official site: www.kayaksolkan2012.si

Canoe Federation of Slovenia: www.kajak-zveza.si

PROGRAMME:

Day 1 – Wednesday 05/09/2012

8:00 – 15:00 Nations training by groups

8:45 – 15:45 Equipment measuring

14:30 Officials meeting

15:30 Course Constructions

16:00 – 17:00 Team leaders meeting

18:00 Demonstration run

20:00 – 21:00 Opening ceremony

VIP and team leaders reception

Day 2 – Thursday 06/09/2012

HEATS

8:00 Officials meeting

8:00 – 9:00 Emergency equipment measuring

8:45 – 8:55 Foreruners

Start interval for heats 50″

9:00 – 9:50 jun K1M 1st Run

9:51 – 10:38 U23 K1M 1st Run

10:38 – 10:41 Interval Between Runs

10:41 – 11:32 jun K1M 2nd Run

11:33 – 12:20 U23 K1M 2nd Run

12:20 – 13:20 Lunch break

13:20 – 13:50 jun C1M 1st Run

13:51 – 14:28 U23 C1M 1st Run

14:30 – 14:46 jun C1W 1st Run

14:47 – 15:00 U23 C1W 1st Run

15:00 – 15:03 Interval Between Runs

15:03 – 15:33 jun C1M 2nd Run

15:35 – 16:12 U23 C1M 2nd Run

16:13 – 16:29 jun C1W 2nd Run

16:30 – 16:43 U23 C1W 2nd Run

Day 3 – Friday 07/09/2012

HEATS

8:00 Officials meeting

8:00 – 9:00 Emergency equipment measuring

8:45 – 8:55 Forerunners

Interval for heats 50″

9:00 – 9:31 jun K1W 1st Run

9:33 – 10:02 U23 K1W 1st Run

10:03 – 10:22 jun C2M  1st Run

10:23 – 10:43 U23 C2M 1st Run

10:43 – 10:46 Break between runs

10:46 – 11:18 jun K1W 2nd Run

11:20 – 11:48 U23 K1W 2nd Run

11:50 – 12:08 jun C2M  2nd Run

12:10 – 12:29 U23 C2M 2nd Run

Interval for semifinals 90″

13:30 – 13:51 U23 C1W Semifinals

13:54 – 14:22 U23 C2M Semifinals

14:25 – 14:54 U23 K1W Semifinals

14:57 – 15:25 U23 C1M Semifinals

15:28 – 16:12 U23 K1M Semifinals

Day 4 – Saturday  08/09/2012

9:00 Officials meeting

9:00 – 10:00 Emergency boat measuring

10:15 – 10:25 Forerunners

10:30 – 10:51 jun C1W Semifinals

10:54 – 11:22 jun C2M  Semifinals

11:25 – 11:54 jun K1W Semifinals

11:57 – 12:25 jun C1M  Semifinals

12:28 – 13:12 jun K1M  Semifinals

Interval for finals 150 “

14:53 – 15:10 U23 C1W Finals

15:15 – 15:38 U23 C2M Finals    TV SLO 2 Live Coverage 15.10 – 17.15

15:43 – 16:05 U23 K1W Finals

16:10 – 16:33 U23 C1M Finals

16.38 – 17:00 U23 K1M Finals

17:40 Awards Ceremony

Interval for teams finals 150″

18:45 – 18:53 C1W  U23 Teams Final

18:58 – 19:13 C2M U23 Teams Final

19:18 – 19:43 K1W  U23 Teams Final

18:48 – 20:18 C1M U23 Teams Final

20:23 – 21:13 K1M U23 Teams Final

21:20 Awards Ceremony

Day 5 – Sunday  09/09/2012

9:00 Officials meeting

9:45 – 9:55 Foreruners

Interval for finals 120 “

10:00 -10:14 jun C1W Finals

10:18 – 10:36 jun C2M  Finals

10:40 – 10:58 jun K1W Finals

11:02 – 11:20 jun C1M Finale

11:24 – 11:42 jun K1M Finale

12:00 – 13:00 Lunch break

Interval for teams finals- 150″

13:00 – 13:13 C1W Juniors Team Final

13:18 – 13:43 K1W  Juniors Teams Final

13:48 – 14:08 C2M juniors Teams Final

14:13 – 14:38 C1M juniors Teams Final

14:43 – 15:33 K1M  juniorsTeams Final

15:45 Closing Ceremony

16:00 Award Ceremony