Rising stars set to leave mark at Olympic Hopes Regatta

Several of Paddle Australia's up-and-coming talent will be on show at a key event in Slovakia in September, the Canoe Sprint Olympic Hopes Regatta

Lauren Burchard, left, and Rachel Donnelly, right, on a canoe

A WELCOME and important pathway to international competition awaits several young athletes as they focus on a solid showing at the Olympic Hopes Regatta in Bratislava, Slovakia, between September 13 and 15.

Lauren Burchard and Rachel Donnelly (canoe) and Demi Bates (kayak) will be the South Australian athletes on the team.

The trio was part of a group of five under-16 girls who contested the Asia Pacific Cup and who are expected to head to Slovakia.

The Hopes event is the biggest international event for under-16s with many top European and US athletes competing.

Paddle SA State Development Canoe coach, Cristi Florian, said the girls had prepared well.

"They are really looking good. Lauren is overcoming a back injury but is coming good,'' Florian said.

"Because the weather has been unpredictable we have had to train inside a lot. The girls will do the single and double 200m events and the 500m which is an Olympic event.

"Both girls are second year into the sport and both have a very good work ethic.

"This time around the girls have great potential and have trained at a high standard. I am hoping for a final but they are racing girls who have been around longer.

"For Lauren it is really important to see what competition she will have and to chase a time standard. For Rachel she will want to test herself - she has good endurance.''

Demi Bates (kayak), who has shown great potential in the past year or so, also will be on the team and is under the care of SASI coach Laurence Fletcher.

The team will head to Hungary soon for a two-week training camp.

The Tokyo Games will feature women's canoeing events for the first time with the C1 200 and C2 500 debuting.

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