European Games 2023

The 2023 European Games took place in Krakow, Poland. Jake and Ali travelled as part of an 8 strong team of Irish canoe slalom athletes, and as part of Team Ireland, which had 123 Irish athletes from 16 different sports. For both of them, this was the first multi-sport event that they had been a part of, and getting to meet and compete alongside athletes from so many different sports was a fantastic experience.

Jake and Ali have been racing in Krakow since 2015 and had travelled to compete in some pre-season races here earlier in the year. They were both very familiar with the venue and enjoy training and racing there. Having been part of the opening ceremony and been to watch some other Irish athletes compete in the Rugby Sevens, they were both excited to get going in their own events, for Jake, the Canoe category, and Ali, Kayak and Kayak Cross.

The kayak men’s qualification runs were up first, unfortunately whilst Ali showed some good pace in both qualification runs, penalties kept him from progressing to the semi-final stages, finishing in 44th place. However, the rest of the Irish kayak athletes showed the current depth in Irish slalom with Noel and Sam (K1M) and Madison (K1W) progressing to the semi-final stages and finishing 28th, 31st and 23rd respectively.

The Canoe class followed the next day where 3 out of 4 athletes progressed to the semi-final stages, with Jake showing some good composure to progress in the second qualification runs. In the semi-final stages Jake didn’t produce the run he was looking for, finishing 30th overall and leaving him hungry to show what he can do in the second half of the season.

In the Kayak cross event, which will make its Olympic debut in Paris 2024 Ali finished 9th in the Time trial with the top 16 progressing through to the head-to-head stages. Following the individual time trial phase, athletes are seeded into four boat heats, where they compete head-to-head and the top two progress to the next round. Ali went on to finish third in his quarter final heat, leaving him in tenth place over all at the competition.

After a short break in racing, Ali and Jake along with the rest of the Irish Canoe Slalom team now turn their focus to the second half of the season which will include two world cups in Spain and Paris, and the World Championships in Lee Valley, London.

Team Ireland

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