A great opportunity this weekend for fans of Irish Canoeing to see the country’s top Olympic stars, International stars and the stars of the future in action. This and much more will be happening at the Irish Open Canoe Slalom Championships at Sluice Weir, Lucan, County Dublin!
This Saturday and Sunday (March 7th/8th) sees a double-header canoe slalom event at the redeveloped Sluice Weir in the Lucan Demesne / St Catherine’s Park. The events on both days will be used as selection races for senior and junior international teams at the following events:
The Senior European Campionships in Makkleerberg,Germany
The World Cup series in Prague and Krackov in June,Slovenia July,Spain August withthe final race in France in August,
Junior and Under 23 European Campionships in Krackov Poland and the end of August,
Senior World Championships in Lee Valley in September
The World Championships on the London Olympic course – this particular event will also count as the first qualification event for places on the Rio Olympics start line, therefore it has an added importance for our aspiring 2016 Olympians.
Racing on both days will feature London 2012 finalist Hannah Craig, who is making her return to competition following the birth of her son last May. Vying for places in the C1 category will be Liam Jegou who took Silver medal in the C1 class at the Junior World Championships in Australia and Robert Hendrick who took Silver for Ireland in the Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China last year. Robert will also double-up with his brother Noel in the C2 class over the weekend.
To provide a good benchmark to assess performance levels, Canoe Slalom Ireland have brought Mike Kurt (17th in Mens Kayak World Ranking) over from Switzerland. The organisers are also delighted to welcome the talented Welsh Junior / U23 team over for the races which will bring an added level of competition.
On Saturday, racing begins at 11.00 and will be completed by 14.30. The course will then be changed for Sunday’s race (The Irish Open Championships) which commences at 09.30 and will run through till mid-afternoon.
The sport is currently going through something of a revival due in no small part to the work of volunteer, club paddlers and the many people who will make this weekend happen. A key reason for the current high standard of our Junior / U23 Squad is due to the coaching input of our three-time and most successful Olympian, Eoin Rheinisch. Eoin is guiding a very talented group of young paddlers who are providing the sport with great hopes for future Olympic and International success.
Considerable work has been carried out at the Sluice Weir site since last Summer with the aid of Sports Capital funding from the Department of Tourism, Transport and Sport and assistance from both South Dublin and Fingal County Councils who operate the parkland (Lucan Demesne / St Catherine’s park) in which the site is located. The rock armour feature which channels the Liffey’s flow to optimise the site’s use for rough water canoeing has been upgraded and extended and a slalom gate hanging system has been installed to facilitate the use of the course for competition and training.
So why not go along and help support the sport to further develop and in turn encourage our many young paddlers who have their eyes on the Olympics in 2016, 2020 and beyond!