AIS Canoe Slalom athletes test run new Olympic Games venue
Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) canoe slalom athlete Jessica Fox is one of the first Australian athletes to test the rapids in a trial run of the official venue for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Fox paddled along the 300-metre Lee Valley White Water Centre canoe slalom course based in south-east England after competing at national selection trials in Nottingham.
Fox, who is looking to compete in her first Olympics, was buoyed by her chance to train and gain valuable experience at the centre.
‘The course is amazing; the water is very clear and continuous so it is like a mountain river. It is challenging, but also great fun,’ Fox said.
In addition to the competition course, the centre features a 160-metre intermediate/training run that will be used by Olympic canoeists in training and during warm-ups prior to competition.
Fox is one of the rising stars of Australia’s canoe slalom program. Among her achievements is gold in the women’s C1 canoe slalom event at her first Youth Olympic Games, as well as double gold in the women’s C1 and K1 at the ICF canoe slalom junior world championships in 2010.
She trains under the guidance of her mother, AIS/National Centre of Excellence senior coach, Myriam Fox.
‘The continuous white water rapids make this course technically difficult so it is great practice for Jessica,’ Fox said.
‘She has been working hard in preparing for competition against some of the world’s best slalom canoeists.’
The young athlete visited the centre as part of her preparation to qualify for the Olympics, while she also juggles her Year 12 certificate.
Due to her school commitments Fox will not be competing with her AIS team members in the upcoming Olympic test event to be held at the centre from 28-31 July.
AIS athletes will compete against some of the world’s best canoe slalom athletes at the event, which will prepare them for the ICF World Championships (7-11 September) in Slovakia, part of the lead-up to the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Among other legacies, the centre will host the ICF 2015 Slalom World Championships — the first Olympic venue to host a major sporting event after the London Games.