Birkett untouchable in China

South Africa's Andy Birkett has completed a winning clean sweep in the canoe marathon series in China, wrapping up the men's K1 event in Shanghai to give him four wins from as many races in the past week.

A leading group of four formed during the fourth lap and steadily pulled ahead of the rest of the field, but it was Barry Watkins of Ireland who lost out in the final short lap leaving Adrian Boros from Hungary in second place and Joakim Lindberg of Sweden picked up his first podium of the week in third place, just over one second behind Birkett.

In the women's K1 Lize Broekx of Belgium achieved her first win of the series from Eva Barrios of Spain in her first podium finish, and Jenny Egan of Ireland who picked up her third 3rd place finish in a row.

In the men's C1 Jakub Brezina of Czech Republic and Mateusz Zuchora of Poland repeated their first and second places on the short course the day before, Erlenikov of Russia achieved his first podium of the week in third.

Overall, the athletes said that they were happy with the format of the racing, with four international marathon finals in seven days a first for most of them. The series certainly provided the feedback required on preparations for the World Championships at the Shaoxing venue in 2019, as well as providing a novel venue and exposure to a new audience in the very centre of one of the world’s great cities, Shanghai.

“We are very happy to have welcomed some of the world’s best canoe marathon racers to China for the races in Shaoxing and Shanghai over the past week. We are very much looking forward to welcoming all international athletes to the World Championships in Shaoxing in October 2019,” Mr Wu Haiming, Director of the Shaoxing Sports Bureau, said. 

“I want to thank all of the Chinese organisation for providing us with such excellent hospitality, venues and competition in Shaoxing and Shanghai," Jorn Cronberg, Chairman of the ICF Canoe Marathon Committee, said.

"I also want to thank the ITOs and competitors who have provided such high quality racing which has proved that Canoe Marathon in China can be a success. We look forward to building on the friendships that we have reached this year as we complete plans to deliver the 2019 World Championships”

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