Fields for opening sprint World Cup starting to take shape

The line-up for the opening ICF Canoe Sprint and Paracanoe World Cup of the 2018 season is beginning to take shape, and there are plenty of surprises with just 24 hours remaining until the official entry deadline.

At the half-way stage of the current Olympic cycle many countries are still experimenting with different line-ups, and several athletes are still flying under the radar ahead of Tokyo 2020.

Germany has entered just one athlete – K1 1000 world champion Tom Liebscher – for the Szeged World Cup next week, while two-time Olympic gold medallist Lisa Carrington has not been entered in any individual events, concentrating instead on New Zealand team boats.

Like Carrington, Rio K1 1000 gold medallist Marcus Walz has also not been entered into his Olympic event, but will race in K2 and K4 500 boats.

There is still time for last-minute changes, with organisers bracing for a flood of late entries.

The deadline for the opening Paracanoe World Cup has passed, with most of the biggest names in the sport confirmed for Szeged.

The introduction of three va’a events to the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics schedule has prompted several athletes to branch out into the outrigger canoe event.

Paralympic gold medallists Curtis McGrath from Australia and Great Britain’s Jeanette Chippington and Emma Wiggs will all race va’a.

Two additional gold medallists from paracanoe’s Paralympic debut in 2016 have also entered.  Poland’s Jakub Tokarz will contest the KL1 200, and Ukraine’s Serhii Yemelianov will take on the KL3 200.

Even with two years remaining until Tokyo 2020, Canada’s Laurence Vincent-Lapointe has established herself as a short-priced favourite to win the first ever women’s C1 gold medal.

Vincent-Lapointe won the C1 200 world title last year, has smashed her own best times during the Canadian qualification season, and will be one of the big names on the Szeged start-list.

Vincent-Lapointe will also team-up again with Katie Vincent in another new Olympic event, the C2 500, and will be looking to follow on from their world title last year.

Hungary so far has entries in 28 events, but notable absentees include five-time Olympic gold medallist, Danuta Kozak, and three-time gold medallist Gabriella Szabo, who are both expected to return to racing this year.

The first ICF Canoe Sprint World Cup for 2018 begins in Szeged on Thursday, May 17, and will run through to Sunday, May 20.

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