Vanda Kiszli refuses to accept any comparisons with Hungarian canoe marathon legend, Renata Csay, but on Saturday confirmed herself as the next big name in female K1 paddling with a successful defence of her ICF world championship title in Shaoxing, China.

The 25-year-old Hungarian outsprinted her teammate and training partner Zsofia Czellai-Voros to snatch the K1 gold, with Great Britain’s Lizzie Broughton taking the bronze. Kiszli said it was much harder defending her world title than winning her first one.

“I think every girl wants to beat me, and in my head I am the world champion, so I have to work harder and need to dominate or be there at the front, so I think it is harder,” she said.

“I felt in control, because I knew that Zsofia is very strong, and I wanted to be there with her. I knew if I could be with her I could be top three. So that was my tactic.

“I knew the other girls had been doing sprints this year, so I knew they were fast. But I knew this was 26 kilometres and I hoped that I was stronger than them and better at 26.

“I just ran as fast as I could, and when I jumped in the boat at the last portage, I just told myself I had to do it, I had to get to the front.”

Kiszli’s win makes her just the second Hungarian woman to win multiple K1 world titles. Marathon legend Renata Csay, who will compete in the K2 on Sunday, is a mile out in front with seven world championship wins.

Understandably, Kiszli is uncomfortable with any comparisons with an athlete considered a paddling God in her country.

“I don’t want to think about this, because I just want to concentrate on my race, and focus on me,” she said.

“I think nobody will catch her, because she has so many titles, and she is a legend."

But Kiszli has two gold medals this week already, having grabbed the short course title on Thursday. On Sunday she’ll start as one of the favourites alongside Noemi Pupp in the women’s K2. Three gold medals at a single championships is very Renata Csay-like.

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