Three months from the opening ICF Canoe Sprint World Cup for 2023 and the excitement is building ahead of an Olympic and Paralympic qualification campaign barely two years since the close of the Tokyo Games.

The 2023 canoe sprint and paracanoe season will kick off at the spiritual home of the sport, Szeged in Hungary. Capacity crowds are expected to cheer on athletes from all over the world at the opening ICF Canoe Sprint and Paracanoe World Cup, as they continue a journey they hope will take them to Paris in 2024.

The main pathway to the Paris Olympics and Paralympics will come through the ICF World Championships in Duisburg, Germany, in August. This will be an opportunity for athletes to earn Paris 2024 quotas for their country.

The Szeged World Cup, and a second world cup in Poznan, Poland, two weeks later, will provide a valuable opportunity for athletes to test their progress ahead of the Paris qualifiers. It will also provide teams with a valuable opportunity to experiment with different athletes in their crew boats.

There will be new events in Paris. The men’s K2 and C2 1000 metre races become 500 metre events, and the men’s and women’s K1 200 races are no longer on the program.

Nearly all the Olympic medalists from Tokyo are expected to be back racing this season, with some notable exceptions. Great Britain’s Liam Heath, Canada’s Laurence Vincent-Lapointe, Cuba’s Serguey Torres, and Germans Ronald Rauhe and Max Hoff are among the big-name athletes who announced their retirement after Japan.

Szeged will also provide an opportunity to highlight the newest Paralympic paracanoe event. The women’s VL3 has been added to the Paris 2024 Paralympic program, giving paracanoe 10 medal events.

Szeged has built a reputation as one of the premiere venues for canoe sprint in the world, reflecting the standing canoe sprint and paracanoe holds among Hungarians. The city has hosted four ICF World Championships, the first back in 1998, and regularly hosts world cups and junior and U23 world titles.

The opening ICF Canoe Sprint and Paracanoe World Cup will be held in Szeged from May 11 to 14.

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