GAINSEVILLE, GEORGIA, USA (May 3, 2016) – Canada’s fastest sprint paddlers are set to line up at the first set of National Team Trials on Lake Lanier in Gainesville, Georgia, USA taking place from May 4 to 8. The athletes will compete in warmer waters at the 1996 Olympic venue as they start the qualification process with several goals in their sights. Most notably on the line are the first assessments on the road to qualifying for the Canadian Olympic Team.
Two Olympic entries could be confirmed this trials
Canada has qualified quota spots in the Men’s K1 200 metre and Women’s K1 500m events. Mark de Jonge qualified the Men’s K1 200m spot by winning last year’s World Championships. de Jonge can secure his spot on the Canadian Olympic Team by winning his event on Saturday afternoon. Since earning an Olympic bronze medal in 2012, de Jonge progressed to a silver at Worlds in 2013, followed by two straight gold medals at the 2014 and 2015 World Championships.
The Women’s K1 500m Olympic entry is slated to be confirmed at this set of Trials with a best two out of three race format. The first final will take place Wednesday and a second final will take place on Thursday morning, with a tie-breaker scheduled for Thursday afternoon if needed. Michelle Russell (Fall River, NS) qualified the spot at last year’s World Championships.
Eight more quota spots possible at Continental Qualifiers
The Canadian Team will have the opportunity to earn up to eight additional Olympic quota spots, with some limitations by discipline, at the Pan American Continental Qualifiers taking place May 19-20 at the same venue in Gainesville, Georgia.
The Men’s K1 1000m is open and the winner of the best two out of three finals at Canadian Team Trials will line up at the Continental Qualifier. He will be selected to the Olympic Team if he earns the spot with a win at the Continental Qualifier.
In Women’s Kayak, it is possible for Canada to qualify both the Women’s K2 500m and the Women’s K1 200m at the Continental Qualifier. The K2 selection follows a similar process to Men’s K1 1000m – the top Canadian crew is determined at Trials with the two out of three format. They go to the Olympic Qualifier and if they win, they get the Olympic nomination. There is a caveat here to do with crew composition as each athlete can only earn one quota spot. If the same athlete races the K1 and K2, there is potential to shift events around among the qualified athletes.
The Women’s K1 process has a few complexities. Michelle Russell is not eligible to race at the Continental Qualifier because she has already qualified a quota spot. There is only one K1 200m final at Trials 1 and depending on who wins, several scenarios could play out. One athlete could win both K1 events. Alternatively the K1 200m spot could be qualified at Continental Qualifiers by an athlete other than Michelle Russell. This could result in either a race-off or a best two out of three selection taking place at National Team Trials 2 in Montreal at the end of June.
Men’s Canoe and Men’s K2 events are also more complex because decisions will have to be made to prioritize certain events based on which crew has the most international potential. Essentially the top Canadian crew will be determined at the trials this week based on a best two out of three race format. The top crews will race at the Continental Qualifiers in pursuit of earning quota spots by being the top Pan American crew. Depending on that outcome and the specific Selection Criteria, World Cups 2 and 3 will be used to assess international performance to determine which events Canada will prioritize.
Also on the line at Trials 1 …
The first set of trials will also serve as assessments for the following teams:
- World Cups
- Under 23 World Championships (first assessments)
- Pan American Championships (Under 23)
- Under 23 European Tour
- Carding (Sport Canada’s Athlete Assistance Policy)
Follow the trials
About Canoe Kayak Canada
Canoe Kayak Canada is the national governing body for competitive paddling in Canada. Canoe Kayak Canada has been one of Canada’s top performing summer sports having won an impressive count of 24 Olympic medals. Canoe Kayak Canada is a member-based organization which includes an intricate network of clubs as well as provincial, territorial and divisional paddling associations. Elite National Team athletes proudly represent Canada at various competitions around the globe – most notably the Olympic Games, Paralympic Games, Pan American Games, ICF World Cups as well as Junior, Under 23 and Senior World Championships. Follow Canoe Kayak Canada on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
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