For the first time in Brasil we will have all 4 of our divisions competing in R4.
So let’s look back at who will be the defending champions.
WRC 2010 at Dutch Water Dreams in the Netherlands
This was the first R4 World Rafting Champs ever held. It was also the first ever Youth event which was for the Under 22 age group and the Open division. It was held at the beautiful artificial track, Dutch Water Dreams. The great organization and fantastic show on the water by the contestants made this competition unforgettable. I, myself, swam no less than twice and my raft was one of those wrapped around the centre bollards on the course. :D Plenty of fun and learning!
Since then there has been no R4 WRC for the Open division, meaning the winners at that event are still the defenders of that title!
The Youth and Junior sections, however, do not have any defending champions in the R4 category because in 2010 and 2012 there was only one division and it was Under 22. Now we have two divisions and they are U19 and U23. But below is a summary of the top contenders for those two events in that age group. It is a fairly close age group to U23 so could be compared to them.
|Youth (U22)||WRC 2010||WRC 2012|
Masters WRC R4 Czech Republic 2012
The first ever Masters World Rafting Champs where held on the new slalom course in České Vrbné, České Budejovice, At the same time the 2nd R4 Youth (U22) World Rafting Champs were held as well and the results can be seen in the above table. It was also the first time we enjoyed live streaming from the races so it could be followed far and wide around the world. Those who were there were left with fantastic impressions.
So the defending champions in the Masters division is as follows:
So for the Open teams it is 4 years since they won those titles, a long time to return to defend them! And that is now too long to base any predictions on the outcome at this WRC.
But in Brazil we will have all of the divisions together for R4 for the first time now: U19, U23, Open and Masters, and soon we will have new champions in all of them.
Following the rafting competitions, I can say that Brazil, New Zealand, Czech Republic and Slovenia have great teams in the U23 category. In women, there are a few teams that stand out, but the power is quite similar and the competition will be tough and exciting.
The U19 category is creating our rafting future, and bringing young athletes into the world of serious competition. We are seeing new teams as some countries compete in these categories for the first time.
I wish them all well, play fair and enjoy the competition! We wish everyone a good stroke. ;)