New Zealand’s Lisa Carrington will begin her tilt at canoe sprint Olympic history on Monday, aiming to become the first athlete to win four medals at a single Games.

Carrington will have to survive a punishing schedule if she is to achieve what no other athlete has done before. On Mond On the first two days of the sprint competition she could have to race up to four times a day. To win four medals she will need to definitely race four times on Tuesday.

Her first event is the K1 200, an event where she is unbeaten in major international competition since the year before the London Olympics. She will also partner Caitlin Regal in the women’s K2 500 on Monday. Both finals will be raced on Tuesday.

Hungary’s Danuta Kozak, a winner of three gold medals in Rio and five Olympic titles overall, will also begin her campaign on Monday. Kozak will partner Dora Bodonyi in the women’s K2 500, an event in which she won gold alongside Gabriella Szabo in 2016.

Monday will also see the start of competition in the men’s K1 1000, one of the most eagerly anticipated showdowns of the Olympic week. Three world champions are in the field – reigning title holder Balint Kopasz of Hungary, 2018 champion Fernando Pimenta of Portugal, and 2014 title holder and Rio silver medalist Josef Dostal of the Czech Republic.

2021 ICF Canoe Sprint World Cup Szeged Jacob SCHOPF

But all eyes will be on two of the youngest paddlers in the field. 22-year-old Jacob Schopf is widely considered the fastest 1000 metre paddler in Germany, no mean feat when considering the calibre of men’s kayak paddling in that country.

Schopf showed what he is capable of when he won an ICF world cup event in Szeged on the eve of the Olympics, defeating Kopasz, Pimenta and Dostal.

All the Canoe Sprint athletes at Tokyo 2020

Hungary has high hopes for 21-year-old Adam Varga, who has beaten world champion Kopasz twice in the past 12 months. Varga trains on the River Danube, which is expected to give him a strong advantage if the conditions at the Sea Forest Waterway are choppy.

The fourth event on Monday will be the qualifying rounds of the men’s C2 1000, where three-time Olympic gold medalist Sebastian Brendel will be aiming to defend the title he won in Rio in 2016.

Brendel has a new partner in Tokyo, 23-year-old Tim Hecker, and they bring winning form to the Olympics after winning gold at the ICF world cup in Szeged.

Their toughest challenge will come from Cuban world championship silver medalists, Serguey Torres Madrigal and Fernando Enriquez, while the boats from Brazil and China are also expected to be strong.

The first medals of the canoe sprint competition will be decided on Tuesday.

2021 ICF Canoe Sprint World Cup Szeged Sebastian BRENDEL, Tim HECKER

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