15 September 2021

Almost 700 athletes from 56 countries will line up this week in the International Canoe Federation Paracanoe and Canoe Sprint World Championships in Copenhagen.

For the first time in ICF history the canoe sprint world championships will be held in the same year as the Olympic Games, providing an opportunity for a handful of athletes to create history by winning both an Olympic and a world title in the same calendar year.

Three medals will be decided on Thursday, in the paracanoe events of women’s VL1 and VL3 and the men’s VL1.

The VL3 has been proposed by the ICF to be added to the Paralympic programme for Paris 2024, adding extra importance to this week’s racing. Great Britain’s Charlotte Henshaw, who won gold in the KL2 in Tokyo, is the reigning VL3 world champion.

Seven of the Paralympic gold medalists from Tokyo will be in action on day one of competition, along with almost all the minor medalists.

Portugal’s Norberto Mourao, who made history by becoming his country’s first paracanoe athlete to qualify for a Paralympics, and then followed up with a bronze medal in the men’s VL2, is looking forward to returning to racing, even though his preparation has not been great.

“Today is the first time I have been back on the water since Tokyo,” Mourao said on Wednesday.

“I have done no training since Tokyo, only rest. I will be very fresh.

“It was amazing to be the first athlete from my country to be in paracanoe in Tokyo. We need more athletes. The visibility is good now in Portugal.”

Mourao burst into world championship contention with a second placing at the 2019 world titles, and followed up by becoming European champion this year before taking bronze in Tokyo. His clash with Brazilian gold medalist Fernando Rufino will be an event highlight.

The 2021 ICF Paracanoe and Canoe Sprint World Championships begin on Thursday and continue through to Sunday.

The ICF announced earlier this year it had teamed up with major partner Starboard in a multi-year partnership designed to make all ICF world disciplines climate neutral. Several events, including this week’s paracanoe and sprint world championships in Copenhagen.

A full media guide for the world championships can be downloaded here.

Canoe Sprint
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