When Balazs Adolf was a junior paddler starting out in the pressure-cooker world of canoeing in Hungary he and his friends were in awe of the muscle-bound world champion who used to share the same boatsheds.

Marton Kover was already a legend when Adolf first started paddling. In 2013 he won his first C1 canoe marathon world title, when Adolf was just 14. It was a moment of great excitement for the club.

On Saturday Adolf found himself going head-to-head with the legend himself. After the pair had demolished the rest of the men’s C1 field, they settled down for three long laps of trench warfare.

22-year-old Adolf had reason to be confident if it came down to a sprint finish. Last month he triumphed in a dogged head-to-head arm wrestle with arguably the biggest name in international canoe sprint, Germany’s Sebastian Brendel.

Sure enough, the man with 11 years on his idol was never going to get caught on Saturday’s final lap. His confidence was well placed.

“As a junior I used to train at the same club as Marton, so It was such an honour to paddle alongside him, he is a legend in our sport,” Adolf said.

“But I trusted my top speed. I used the same tactic that I used against Brendel, and I hoped I would have enough stamina and that it would work.”

His win against Brendel and a bronze medal in the men’s C1 1000 were good lead-up results for Bascov.

“I only had two weeks to prepare for this, but it’s very similar to 1000 metre racing. You need very good stamina in both,” Adolf said.

The ideal future for Adolf would be a ticket to the Paris Olympics in 2024. But he bleeds marathon.

“The first goal will be the 1000 metres, but in my preparations the marathon will be very important,” he said.

“I hope to have time keep doing the both.”

Hungary Balazs Adolf marathon Pitesti 2021

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