Babak keeps looking for new challenges after third world title

Liudmyla Babak admits sitting out the front of a women’s C1 canoe marathon field can sometimes be a bit boring, but she still plans to dominate the sport for at least another decade.

The 22-year-old Ukranian on Saturday notched up her third consecutive C1 world championship title, adding it to her short course title from Thursday. She is the dominant paddler in the women’s canoe discipline, a pocket-rocket who seems to get better every year.

The numbers are growing at every world championships, and younger paddlers are coming through. But they are making little impact on the Ukranian.

“The addition of the short event has made it more difficult for me to change between the two, so that is a challenge,” Babak said.

“To be honest, with the long distance sometimes it is a bit boring. But women’s canoeing is improving, because now the number of women competing has almost doubled in recent years, and that is a good sign.”

For a while China’s Caiyun Xin challenged Babak, but it was only momentary. When the three-time world champion decided she’d had enough of someone sitting on her shoulder, she put on a quick burst and the race was over.

So at just 22 Babak already has four world titles. She could continue to dominate for many years to come, but finding ways to keep her interested and to stop feeling ‘bored’ might be the biggest challenge.

One of her goals is to spread the love for marathon, especially in her country.

“I want to stay as world champion for as long as I can. My coach tells me I should aim for another 10 or even 15 years,” Babak said.

“In Ukraine I am quite famous and people recognise me, but marathon is not so well known there. There needs to be more development of the sport. I would like to show Ukranians that it is a very difficult kind of sport, but it’s also a very exciting sport.”

Babak finished 90 seconds ahead of Xin, while Hungary’s Zsofia Kisban was another minute back in third place.

Ukraine Liudmyla Babak canoe marathon Shaoxing 2019

Canoe Marathon
#ICFcanoemarathon #canoemarathon