The European Canoe Slalom Championships will begin tomorrow ©ECA

Czech pair Vít Přindiš and Amálie Hilgertová will aim to defend their titles as the Canoe Slalom European Championships begin in Prague tomorrow.

The local athletes triumphed in the men’s and women’s K1 kayak events last year and will hope for repeat success near the Vltava River.

The European Canoe Association has praised the efforts of organisers to ensure the competition can take place amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Athletes from 20 countries are expected to start in the Czech Republic, with the European Championships set to be closed to the general public.

Germany and Russia have opted not to compete, while Britain and Slovakia have opted out of international racing until the end of 2020 due to the pandemic.

Athletes from Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Spain, Estonia, France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, North Macedonia, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Switzerland, Sweden and Ukraine are due to compete, plus those from the host nation.

Přindiš will face competition from his team-mate and reigning world champion Jiří Prskavec in the men’s K1 event.

Slovenia’s Peter Kauzer, the Rio 2016 silver medallist, will be targeting a third European title in the event.

Defending champion Hilgertová headlines the women’s K1 field, with the Czech kayaker expected to face competition from reigning world champion Eva Terčelj of Slovenia.

World Championship bronze medallist Nadine Weratschnig of Austria will begin as the top seed in the women’s C1 competition.

Defending champion Mallory Franklin of Britain is not competing.

Slovenia will have high hopes in the men’s C1 event, with defending champion Benjamin Savšek and Luka Božič leading the challenge.

Heats will take place tomorrow, with individual finals scheduled for Saturday (September 19).

The team competitions will be held on Sunday (September 20).