The Youth World Rafting crown looks set to be a battle of four nations with the local favourites the Czech Republic, lead by Captain Antonin Hales confident ahead of racing commencing on Saturday down the Ceske Budejovice Whitewater rapids.
Hales, aged 20 from Ceske Krumlov, will lead the four man raft which consists of fellow C1 downriver paddlers Martin Hovak (20) and Radek Pavlik (20), and canoe slalom C1 paddler Radim Bozek (20). Ondřej Rolenc is the substitute for the team.
The youngsters secured the right to represent the Czech Youth team at the inaugural Youth and Masters World Championships after finishing with the highest points tally following a nine race selection process.
The quad has been racing together for three years and are looking forward to racing on the recently re-developed Ceske Budejovice course. Hales said:
It’s the first year for this course, so it is new for everyone, but we had four days training camp here, so we know it a little bit, I think it is nice.
The Czech team will go in as favourites but can expect strong competition from the Brazilians who impressed in Costa Rica last year and regularly train together, something that Hales believes gives them a slight advantage.
“We all train separate and individually and only come together for races and for some training camps in the raft.”
Other nations set to challenge the two favourites include Italy and Hungary, who both back a powerful punch. The Youth competition will consist of four disciplines and Hales is confident of a strong performance across all four disciplines.
“I hope that we will be good at each of them, but I think that we are quite strong on the downriver.”
The sprint and head to head disciplines will commence on Saturday.
- The four disciplines of competitive rafting explained: www.sportscene.tv/whitewater/rafting/news/the-four-disciplines-of-competitive-rafting-explained
- More information about Ceske Budejovice and the region: www.sportscene.tv/whitewater/rafting/news/ceske-budejovice-and-the-whitewater-stadium
- News overview rafting: www.sportscene.tv/whitewater/rafting/news
- Video news flashes: www.youtube.com/SportsceneTV
- Event website World Championships: www.ymwrc2012.com
- Website International Rafting Federation: www.internationalrafting.com