France has laid down the challenge ahead of this year’s World Canoe Marathon Championships in South Africa with a strong performance at an ICF World Cup event in Hazewinkel, Belgium, on the weekend.

Quentin Urban was the star for France, who will be looking to challenge the traditionally strong marathon nations of Hungary, Spain and South Africa at the September World titles.

Urban followed up his victory in the short track event with a gold medal in Sunday’s full distance marathon, beating a record field of 44 athletes in hot and still conditions over the 30 kilometre course.

Hungary’s Adrian Boros was second, while another Frenchman, Jerome Candy, was third. A group of six approached the final portage, before Boros attempted a break.

But it was a replay of the previous day, with Urban finishing with a withering burst to take the gold.

France handed out a paddling master class in the morning’s C1 event, with Pierrick Martin following up his gold from the short track with a win in the 26 kilometre event.

Teammates Tanguy Souchyere and Damien Mantovani won the silver and bronze medals respectively, after the French team worked together right up to the final 800 metres to ensure a team trifecta.

In the women’s K1 it was a double victory for Hungary, reversing the result inflicted upon them by Denmark in the short course the previous day.

Lili Katona and Noemi Horwath worked together as a team to overrun short track gold and silver medallists Henriette Engle Hansen and Emilie Rosenkilde half way through the race.

French former sprint specialist Amelie Kessler tried to keep with the Hungarians, the trio staying together to the final decisive portage where Katona made her move.

Horwath was second and Kessler third.

“I damaged my rudder in the second portage, had too much water in my boat, and could not really manage the group racing after that,” Engel Hansen said.

Tobias Heuser won his second gold in the junior men’s competition, with Ireland’s Ronan Foley second and Great Britain’s Joseph Petterson third.

All three made a mistake in lap counting and lost a lot of ground, but managed to get the medals after a tremendous fightback.

The imressive Georgia Carmicel from Great Britain took her second gold in women’s K1, with Belgians Amber van Breakhoven second and Joke Plas third.

Germany’s Arved Heine won also the full distance, with Poland’s Patryk Piotrowich Poland second and the German, Jonas Mode, third. 

Canoe Marathon