After five world championship canoe sprint silver medals Czech Martin Fuksa is wondering if this year will be his time in the men’s C1 1000.

He has good reason to believe it might be so. Sebastian Brendel, the German powerhouse who has been Fuksa’s nemesis in four of those five world championships, is unlikely to be racing the Olympic distance this year.

Others, like Brazilian Tokyo 2020 Olympic gold medalist, Isaquias dos Santos, and 2021 German world champion, Conrad Scheibner, have stepped up to stake a claim to the crown. Fuksa knows better than most sentiment holds no place in canoe sprint, but he wouldn’t want it any other way.

And, deep down inside, he actually enjoyed locking horns with the German champion.

“Sebastian is a living legend of the sport, and I enjoy the competitiveness between us,” Fuksa said.

“Of course, I prefer standing next to him on a podium during a flower ceremony where we enjoy the moments as friends, but also as competitors.

“Yes, it is true that I already have a few silver medals in my collection, and I am proud of them. However, I always go to the race with winning thoughts. We will see how it goes this year.”

If Fuksa wants to make an early statement, the opening ICF canoe sprint world cup of 2022 will be the place to do it. Racice is Fuksa’s home course, he won C1 500 world championship gold there in 2017, and at 29, is at peak racing age.

“I love racing at home, and it feels so special to be able to race in Racice, so yes, I am looking forward to starting the season at home,” Fuksa said this week.

“Up until now, I still recall the World Championships back in 2017, it has a special place in my heart.

“I am feeling very well, and I am looking forward to the season start, winter break has been long this year. I have been training a lot, both at home and abroad, so I hope it was worth it and the results will come during the season.”

Despite all his podium results at a world championship level, the Olympics have not gone to plan so far for Fuksa. Consecutive fifth placings in Rio and Tokyo have not reflected his world status going into the Games.

But the shortened Olympic cycle leading into Paris 2024 has given him an early buzz. He prefers not to think about it, but Olympic qualifiers are only 12 months away.

“I am the type of athlete who wants to win a medal in every race. Unfortunately, I haven’t been successful at the Olympics, yet, but I am still working on it though, and I hope the hard work will pay off one day,” he said.

“I took some time off after Tokyo to recover, and then I started preparing for the World Championships where I perform much better.

“I would say it is much better (having just a three-year cycle) but I do try to be focused mainly on my job and not to think about the Olympics too much. But of course, I’ll do my best to race in Paris 2024.”

The opening ICF Canoe Sprint World Cup begins in Racice, Czech Republic, on May 20.

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