Eight Nova Scotian paddlers will take the international stage in Poznan, Poland, on the weekend.
Olympians Andrew Russell of Dartmouth, Karen Furneaux of Waverley and Jillian D’Alessio of Middle Sackville are among the Bluenose contingent that will represent Canada at the first of two World Cup canoe-kayak events.
Strong showings at these regattas can help paddlers qualify for August’s world championships on Lake Banook.
Russell, who competes in C-2 events with Quebec’s Gabriel Beauchesne-Sevigny, and Furneaux, a three-time Olympic kayaker, are top medal candidates.
“I look to (Russell) to be really strong and Karen has a lot of experience behind her and she’s going to Europe ready to go,” said Graham Barton, Canada’s high performance director.
Also highlighting the group are Connor Taras of Waverley and Lyall Hatton of Bedford, a teenaged K-2 duo. The 2007 junior world silver medallists are widely considered the province’s top up-and-coming talents in the sport.
“They jumped onto the senior team last year and challenged for a spot on the Olympic team,” said Barton. “It was a great step forward in their progression and they have a shot at challenging (for worlds) in the (K-2 1,000) position.”
Kayakers Genevieve Orton (Lake Echo), Una Lounder (Dartmouth) and Shaun Fair (Waverley) are the other Nova Scotians on the 32-member team.
The next World Cup is in Szeged, Hungary, in June. The Canadian team returns home for two more sets of selection trials, June 27-28 in Dartmouth and July 17-19 in Montreal.