The biggest names in international canoe marathon paddling will all line up this weekend for the ICF World Cup in Ruse, Bulgaria.

Reigning World Games and World Champions Andy Birkett from South Africa and Vanda Kiszli from Hungary, five-time C1 women’s world champion Liudmyla Babak from Ukraine, and Spain’s reigning C1 world champion Manuel Garrido will be the headline acts for the two-day marathon event.

Birkett and Kiszli took the opportunity to showcase their skills to a global audience when canoe marathon made it’s debut at The World Games in Birmingham last year, and then followed up with world titles in Portugal later in the year.

For Kiszli it was her fourth consecutive women’s long distance marathon world title, while it was Birkett’s second overall title after also winning in 2018.

Birkett is set for a tough race in Ruse, with world championship silver medalist Jose Ramalho of Portugal on the start list. Ramalho has won three world championship silver medals and three bronze.

Babak has been unbeatable in women’s canoe marathon since winning her first world title in 2017. She now has five world titles, and will start as a short-priced favourite in Ruse.

Men’s canoe is set to be a tight tussle between Garrido and four-time world champion Marton Kover of Hungary. The pair finished first and second in Portugal last year. Ukrainian Denys Davydov, a world championship bronze medalist at the 2021 world titles, will also make the race interesting.

A full two-days of competition has been lined up for Ruse, with men’s and women’s junior and senior C1 and K1 short and standard distance marathons. The weekend will also be a valuable warm up ahead of this year’s ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships in Denmark in September.

South Africa Andy Birkett canoe marathon Birmingham 2022

Canoe Marathon