Clare’s Liam Jegou is set to race at the 2021 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships tomorrow, writes Ivan Smyth.
The Ballyvaughan canoeist qualified for the Tokyo Olympic Games in a condensed field although he didn’t make a splash as planned after being eliminated at the semi-final stage.
However, Thursday afternoon in Slovakia, he hopes to build upon what has been a promising year thus far with another assured display. Jegou has struggled with a neck injury in recent weeks but in a post on social media, the Olympian confirmed that he intends to represent his country in Bratislava.
One more session to go before the World Championships kick off on Wednesday ! A neck injury has kept me out of the boat for a couple of days but thanks to our top notch team physio I’ll be good as new on Thursday for heats #Planetcanoe #TeamIreland #Worldchampionships pic.twitter.com/YEJDvClQXI
— Liam Jegou OLY (@LiamJegou) September 20, 2021
He lines up in a talented field as each participant will compete in two heats this afternoon as Jegou aims to reach the final this weekend.
Jegou competes in the C1 discipline. In canoe C1, competitors navigate a course while trying to avoid touching a series of overhanging gates. The slightest touch adds two seconds to a canoeists’ time. Missing a gate completely is a 50 second penalty which would end the hopes of anybody who suffers this fate.
This event is filled with top quality competitors. Reigning Olympic champion Benjamin Savsek of Slovakia is competing on a course he will be familiar with while Denis Gargaud Chanut, the gold medalist from the Olympic Games in 2016, also takes to the Slovakian waters.
The Frenchman this month secured the overall men’s C1 2021 World Cup title with Jegou coming up against the very best in his discipline.
Jegou’s first heat begins Thursday, September 23, at 3.48pm Slovakian time (2.48pm Irish time).