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The 2019 ECA Wildwater Canoeing European Championships in Soča Valley starts tomorrow

The 2019 ECA Wildwater Canoeing European Championships in Soča Valley starts tomorrow 13.5.2019

The wait is almost over. We are only one day away of the first major international canoeing competition of the year 2019 and the first ECA European Championships this season. The 2019 ECA Wildwater Canoeing European Championships will kick off tomorrow with opening ceremony in Bovec, Slovenia. 

Over 100 athletes from 15 European countries (Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, North Macedonia, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland, Slovakia and Slovenia) will fight for European Champion titles in classic and sprint events. 
“We are really happy that we have 15 federations here with around 100 athletes. The water level is really good right now,” said Manuela Gawehn, ECA technical delegate for Wildwater Canoeing, before the start of this European Championships.
Hosts, the Slovenian team, will be one of the strongest contenders for the top podium positions, not surprisingly as Nejc Žnidarčič (K1M) and Blaž Cof (C1M) won Wildwater Sprint World Champion titles last year and Simon Oven (K1M) was crowned World Champion in classic event. But members of Czech, German, Italian, French and Swiss team came to Slovenia with medals in their mind as well. Martina Satkova, Melanie Mathys, Ondrej Rolenc, Emil Milihram, Louis Lapointe, Tony Debray, Yannic Lemmen, Nico Paufler and Panato sisters are only a few of athletes with great chance to win a medal. 
This year’s championships will have an Olympic taste as well. After men’s C2 was eliminated from the top level international canoe slalom competitions Slovak Olympic Champions Peter and Pavol Hochschorner and Peter and Ladislav Škantar found new challenges in wildwater canoeing. They all came to the beautiful Soča Valley to fight for the medals this week. 
“It is always nice to compete at home. I grew up on Soča River and had great success here. We all have high goals. I won at every sprint competition I took part in this year, so I hope I will continue with this winning streak also here at this championships,” said Slovenian kayaker Nejc Žnidarčič, multiple World and European Championships medallist. 
The picturesque Soča Valley is a well-known spot for wildwater canoeing enthusiasts, but now the ‘professionals’ will take over the river in the next couple of days. On Wednesday the individual classic event will be organised, followed by classic team and individual masters races on Thursday. On Friday heats in wildwater sprint events are scheduled, while the championships will conclude on Saturday with individual and team wildwater sprint finals. 
Unfortunately the weather conditions in Bovec today are not perfect. Heavy winds caused damage on the venue, breaking some tents and causing trees to fall. These fallen trees were the reason the main road from Bovec to the venue was temporarily closed and the strong winds also damaged some electricity cables. Bad forecast forced organisers to move some of the planned events, such as opening ceremony and medal ceremonies, from the main town square to indoors. 
But Valter Mlekuž, Mayor of Bovec, remains positive, “We are really happy to host the European Championships. We did everything in our power, but unfortunately our hands are tied when it comes to weather. Tomorrow we will have an Opening ceremony in Cultural centre, and then I hope the weather will improve so we will have events on the main square. This is a great promotion for Bovec and Soča Valley.”



Official event website: https://kayaksoca.wordpress.com/

Results: www.timing-mojstrana.com 

Livestreaming will be available at: https://www.youtube.com/CanoeEurope 




Tuesday, 14th May 2019

20:00               Opening Ceremony in Bovec


Wednesday, 15th May 2019

12:00               Individual classic race


Thursday, 16th May 2019

12:00               Team classic race

13:00               Individual masters race

13:30               Unofficial WC2 race

19:00               Prize giving ceremony (individual and team classic races – Bovec Culture Centre)


Friday, 17th May 2019

10:00               Individual sprint heats – 1st Run

14:00               Individual sprint heats – 2nd Run


Saturday, 18th May 2019

10:00               Individual sprint – Final

15:00               Team sprint race

18:00               Prize giving ceremony (individual and team sprint races – Bovec Culture Centre)

                        Closing ceremony