SALMON Leap Canoe Club has seen four members selected to represent Ireland at the first European Games in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Jenny Egan (K1 200, K1 500 and K1 5000), her brother Peter Egan (K1 5000), Simas Dobrovskis (k2 200 in partnership with Peter Egan, and K2000) and Tom Brennan (K1 200) will all travel to represent Ireland.
Andrzej Jezierski, a Polish born canoeist with an Irish passport, will also travel. Jezierski previously represented Ireland at the London 2012 Olympics.
Jenny Egan, who took home Ireland’s first ever Senior European Sprint Canoe medal in the Senior K1 5000m event at Racice in the Czech Republic a month ago, will lead the charge.
Egan’s bronze in the Czech Republic came on top of two previous podium finishes at world level, and makes her a major contender to take home a medal in Baku.
“This is about the same level as the European Championships”, Egan told GazetteSport. “I’ve just come off a really tough block of training, and I’ll be tapering until the championships. It’s a big, important event for us.
“What I’m hoping for is a clean race, which is never certain in the K1 5000. To get on the podium I’d need to have a great race, it’s extremely tough. But of course that’s an aim.”
Egan and her team-mates will arrive in Baku on the 9th of June, and travel the following day to the course four hours away in Mingachevir, a city of 150,000 not far from the border with Georgia. Egan’s first competition gets underway on the 14th of June.
“It’s definitely a good thing that there are a few days between arriving and the competition,” Egan said. “It’ll give us a chance to get over the jetlag and recover from the travel. The course is totally new for me, and I’m hoping that there are no cross winds that give an advantage to any lane over another, and that it’s a good course.”
For the K1 500 and K1 200 races Egan’s expectations are somewhat more modest, with the Kildare athlete aiming for a B-Final or better, in line with her form in those events.
“It’s exciting to be part of Team Ireland, which will consist of 63 athletes, travelling out,” Egan says. “It’s a big event, and you can’t entirely control how it goes. It’s all about doing everything you can.
“I just hope we all have clean races and come back happy with our results.”
Salmon Leap fans will be able to follow events as they unfold in Baku, with Setanta Sports and BT Sports both covering the games extensively.