Stars on show at Whitewater Stadium

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The 2014 Canoe Slalom Oceania Championships will be held at Penrith Whitewater Stadium from today until Sunday.

Racing will commence today with the qualifications runs for each of the five disciplines.

The event will see athletes represented from 10 countries including European powerhouses France, Germany and Slovakia.

This weekend’s event will hold additional significance for the Australian athletes who will be looking to secure their places on the 2014 Senior, U23 and Junior Teams.

Much of the spotlight is expected to centre on the Junior and U23 athletes with Penrith set to host the ICF Junior and U23 World Championships from the 23-27 April.

32 athletes will contest the K1W event which looks set to be a battle between Australia and Germany for the medals.

Headlining the event will be London Olympic silver medallist Jessica Fox.

The 19 year old is in excellent form and will looking to add the Oceania title to the Australian Open and National Championship gold medals she won last month.

Victorian Sarah Grant and NSWIS paddler Rosalyn Lawrence will also be in contention after finishing second and third respectively at the Australian Open.

The German’s have sent a strong contingent to Penrith this weekend and will be lead by 2009 World Champion Jasmin Schornberg. The 27 year old finished fifth at the 2012 Olympic Games and is a regular star on the ICF World Cup circuit.

Fellow countrywomen Cindy Poeschel, Melanie Pfeifer and Ricarda Funk will be other strong contenders to claim the Oceania title.

At the conclusion of the 2013 ICF World Cup Series Fox (2nd), Schornberg (3rd), Poeschel (6th) and Grant (9th) all finished inside the top 10 K1W standings.

Other international athletes that could spring a surprise include Kiwi Luuka Jones and Japanese kayakers Yuriko Takeshita and Aki Yazawa.

It is remarkable to think that Fox is still an U23 athlete and will fight it out with Funk and Yazawa for victory in that age group.

Other U23 paddlers to look out for include Melbourne Canoe Club’s Maggie Webster, Penrith’s Alison Borrows and Western Australian Georgia Rankin.

Noemie Fox was the fourth highest Australian at last month’s Australian Open finishing fifth behind her older sister.

The Penrith kayaker leads an exciting younger generation coming through the ranks that will be looking to secure themselves a spot on the Australian team to compete at the ICF Junior and U23 World Championships in April.

The 17 year old is amongst the favourites to claim the junior K1 Oceania title alongside Tasmanian Kate Eckhardt and Penrith’s Alexandra Broome.

A smaller field of 17 athletes will contest the C1W event.

Jessica Fox will once again be the women to beat after a sensational season in 2013 saw her top the ICF World Cup standings.

Fellow 2013 C1W Australian senior paddlers Rosalyn Lawrence and Alison Borrows, and Slovakian Katarina Macova will be the others in the mix for the Oceania title.

In the junior ranks expect Noemie Fox, Kate Eckhardt, Alexandra Broome, Eliza Singleton and Isabella Choate to fight it out for junior selection.

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