The opening day of action at the 2016 ICF Junior and U23 Canoe Sprint World Championships produced some excellent racing in superb condition on the purpose built channel that rests just outside of the Belorussia capital, Minsk.

The five-day competition is the biggest on the international canoeing circuit in terms of athlete participation, with effectively a double world championships being run in parallel as the fastest of the two youngest age classes (U18 and U23) battle it out to be crowned the world’s best.

All the favourites smoothed through the opening rounds with a tailwind providing many with fast times.

The Hungarian quartet in the K4W 500m were relatively pleased with their opener, qualifying straight to the final from heat two.

“We had a great start and we just tried to stick to our plan and it worked. There was a strong tailwind so the course was fast,” commented Agnes Czabo (HUN).  

Happy with the conditions the young star continued: “It’s a pretty good course and it was my second time racing here, first time was at the university championships.”

Confirming her teammates summary, Anett Szilagyi (HUN) added,” The middle was a bit slower than what we planned but otherwise all was pretty good and smooth.”

Ever the perfectionists, Eszter Malcsiner (HUN) stated that they could do better for the final.

Elsewhere, South Africa’s Jean Van Der Westhuizen was jubilant after his initial efforts in the K1M Junior 1000m semifinal.

“The venue is really awesome such a nice course, we don’t have like this in South Africa, the water doesn’t feel as fast as here and when I race here, I feel I go really fast, there is a little bit of tail wind so I can’t complain, there is a perfect condition for racing here.”

The young gun pulled his way through to the final in top slot after a great start.

“To be honest I never thought I would win the semis here, it’s quite a surprise I never raced in sprint World Champs, I always watched the previous years when my partner raced in 2014, so I’m really surprised and happy.”

“For final, no mercy as my coach said I have to be absolutely tired at the end so really looking forward to it.”

K2 Junior Men1000m stars, Erik Petro and Adam Vagra (HUN) were less fired up from their days efforts, but will be strong contenders for the final

“The heat was easier, the semi wasn’t our maximum but it felt more difficult,” said Vagra.

Stating what seems to be an obvious strategy for the final, Petro said, “We try to be in the front all the time and the strategy is just to win, of course everyone has plans for the final and obviously we give all to win a medal.”

The action continues tomorrow at 08:30 CET with the first heat of the K4M Juniors.

For full results of the days racing - click here

Canoe Sprint