22 September 2020

Hungary’s Peter Pal Kiss will return to the scene of his greatest triumph when he competes at the ICF Paracanoe world cup from this Friday in Szeged.

The teenager thrilled his home crowd when he won world championship gold in the men’s KL1 200 at last year’s world championships, and will relish the chance this week to once again show Hungarians he is a strong Paralympic medal prospect next year.

A strong field has nominated for this week’s event, despite international travel restrictions. Several Paralympians and world championship medalists will take the opportunity to race in the only international paracanoe competition for 2020.

Paralympic silver medalists Robert Suba of Hungary and Markus Swoboda of Austria, world championship silver medalist Norberto Mourao of Portugal and Larisa Volik of Russia, and world championship bronze medalist Mariia Nikiforova of Russia are all set to start.

The head-to-head battle between the Hungarians Kiss and Suba in the KL1 will be one of the main attractions on Friday. Suba went tantalizingly close to a Paralympic gold medal when the sport made its debut in Rio in 2016, and is also a two-time world championship runner-up.

But Kiss is the form paddler in the world, having secured the European title before taking the world crown in Szeged last year.

Swoboda will relish the opportunity to race without Australia’s Paralympic and world champion Curtis McGrath in the men’s KL2. The Austrian finished second behind McGrath in Rio, and is a multiple world championship gold and silver medalist.

Portugal’s Norberto Mourao broke down in tears after winning his country’s first ever paracanoe world championship medal in Szeged, and will be looking to improve on his silver medal this week in the men’s VL2, one of the new events set down for the Tokyo Paralympics.

His toughest competition could once again come from Hungary’s Suba.

Mariia Nikiforova earned a hard-fought bronze in the women’s VL2 in Szeged, finishing behind Great Britain’s multiple world champion and Paralympic gold medalist, Emma Wiggs. Both Wiggs and Australian silver medalist, Susan Seipel, will not be racing on Friday, presenting the Russian with a good opportunity to take the gold.

Frenchman Eddie Potdevin, a silver medalists in the men’s VL3 at last year’s European championships, will make life tough for Swoboda in Szeged. His French teammate, Nelia Barbosa, is also a European silver medalist, in the women’s KL3 and finished fourth at the world championships.

Russia’s Larisa Volik is the reigning European champion and world championship silver medalist in the women’s VL3 and will start a warm favourite on Friday.

Russia Larisa Volik paracanoe world championships 2018