In conversation with world champion kayaker, Manon Hostens

Connexion's Jane Hanks interviews Manon Hostens, elite athlete and world champion kayaker. Photo (c) Luc Fauret Photographe.
Connexion's Jane Hanks interviews Manon Hostens, elite athlete and world champion kayaker. Photo (c) Luc Fauret Photographe.

What makes an elite athlete? World champion kayaker Manon Hostens reveals a few secrets in this interview.

This month, 25-year-old kayaking champion Manon Hostens, from the Dordogne, should have been in Tokyo for the 2020 Olympic Games – but they have been postponed for a year due to the Covid-19 outbreak. She is one of France’s hopefuls for a medal in the kayak sprint events. She has been wild water kayaking World Champion eight times and was European Sprint Champion in a two-seat kayak in 2018. She was part of the French Olympic team at Rio in 2016.

Tell us about your chosen sport

I love being outdoors, close to the water and nature. On the water I feel privileged to discover hidden and amazing landscapes you can only see from a boat. In the sprint races I love the speed and the sensation of jumping and sliding along the top of the water. In the wild water competitions, I adore being in the river, the waves and the rocks and that rush of adrenaline. It is a sport with lots of positive values which takes place in nature and is very aware of the need to look after the environment.

What are the different sports in the canoe world?

First we have to distinguish between kayaking and canoeing. Kayaking comes from the Inuit people. When we kayak we are in a seated position and we paddle on both sides with a two-blade paddle. Canoeing comes from Native American Indians and we have a one-blade paddle, are on our knees and paddle on one side only.

There are several disciplines. Two are classified as Olympic sports. These are slalom and sprint in both canoe and kayak categories. For the sprint there are distances of 200m, 500m and 1,000m for one or two canoeists and one, two or four kayakers.

Other disciplines include wild water, which are races on open rivers; ...

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