Demonstration runs give a last chance preview of the course
SYDNEY - Competitors and spectators were treated to two demonstration runs on Wednesday at the 2005 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships, with six Canoe Slalom racers, representing all four competition categories, running both the heats and finals courses.
As competitors are not allowed to run the course until competition begins, the demonstration runs offer an important insight for race preparation.
"The demonstrations are necessary to give the competitors a chance to asses their race and to decide how easily or aggressively they want to attack the course," said Men's C1 demonstrator Ben Hankinson of the course for the heats. "It's a challenging course, but a good one for competition."
So that the courses for the heats and finals aren't identical, officials change the position of six of the 22 gates for the respective races.
Hankinson believes the finals course poses greater difficulty for the competitors than the heats course. "It's harder at the main waves," he said. "Anytime they accentuate a move it's going to be trickier."
The demonstrators seemed to struggle during the middle section of both courses, with many misjudging the turns. "The middle is definitely the hardest section, particularly because that's when you start to get tired," said Hankinson.
Men's K1 Demonstrator Sam Lyons believes both courses will offer an advantage to certain competitors in the field. "The course will suit the strong paddlers, but even more so the guys with good technique," he said. "It will sort the men from the boys."