Slovakian double slalom canoe together with women paddlers in full preparation for upcoming European Championship

Rio Olympic Dream Ondrej Cibak grounds in Liptovsky Mikulas have been covered with beautiful sunshine for a while, only for scattered clouds to warn everyone about upcoming rainfall. Moments later, we had to put on our sunglasses again as weather showed its´ power. Typical weather for Liptov region at this time of the year.

“ As long as there is no strong wind and rain, this is good,“ commented Ivan Cibak, president of Slovakian Canoe Slalom Federation. However, weather forecast is not ideal for the weekend in Liptovsky Mikulas, venue for the upcoming 2016 European Canoe Slalom Championship. 

This shall not affect our paddlers, who are used to difficult weather conditions in Liptovsky Mikulas, including heavy snowfall. Nothing should surprise them.

Yesterday, we met Ladislav Skantar before going for training. Ladislav will paddle together with his cousin Peter Skantar not only for the C2 Championship glory, for also for their first every Olympic berth. “We are both doing well and looking forward the race. Of course, we feel pressure, but to be honest, we can not wait for the Championship to start,“ says Ladislav. Together with Peter, they own nine World Championships medals (1-4-4) and twelve from European Championships (6-1-5), but they have never been part of Olympic Games. 

Last season was not the best for holders of four Olympic medals, they face a difficult task this weekend. If they want to travel to Rio in summer, they need not only to beat their opponents, but also to get on the podium. 

“ After coming back from Australia, we have set our camp in Cunovo, and once we have trained here in Liptovsky Mikulas as well,“ said Peter and Pavol continued: “ We do not like it here to be honest, because there is always not enough water for doubles, but we have worked hard to win and book a place at the Olympics in Rio.“

 

Elena Kaliska finds herself in much worse position compared to other Slovakian paddlers. Double Olympic Champion has only two points from the first three qualifying races, whilst Jana Dukatova has already nine on her tally, but her chances to qualify for Rio is still alive. 

“ I am satisfied with the preparations. I was 12th and 21st in Australia, but that was at the beginning of my preparations phase. Recently I raced at International Liptov Slaloms and I felt much better. I missed the final after one big mistake, came 11th in the race,“ commented on her current form „Elen“. “ It is my advantage that the last qualifying race and the European Championship will take place at the canal, which I know very well. Also the fact, I can sleep in my own bed during the Championship. It also brings some disadvantages, pressure is bigger, but I am experienced enough to cope with these factors.“

Jana Dukatova, biggest rival of Elena Kaliska, was part of charity run Wings for Life on Sunday. “ This time, I only ran 9 kilometres. I planned to make ten, but I did make the most beautiful part through historic old town, tenth kilometre was run through Petrzalka, which I did not really fancy. Atmosphere was great, beautiful weather, so I do not regret doing it. It was great fun, before concentrating fully on the European Championship,“ said Dukatova. Slovakian paddler came sixth at her first Olympic Games, four years ago in London. She dreams of better placement this time, but she needs to qualify first. 

 

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