It’s not just the world’s best athletes who are competing at the ICF Paracanoe and Canoe Sprint World Cup in Szeged, Hungary, this week.

The next generation of athletes, from countries all over the globe where canoeing is still in its infancy or lacking important resources, are also making the most of a chance to access the world-class Szeged facilities.

More then 40 athletes from 23 countries have been participating in an ICF Talent Identification Programme (TIP) with their coaches. 

TIP offers growth opportunities for competitors of different nations belonging to developing countries in canoeing, including Mozambique, Guatemala, Serbia, Sweden, Nigeria, Vietnam, India, Irak and Egypt.

The programme is open to athletes of all levels, including those who may never make it to an Olympic Games.

The programme has been guided by five Hungarian coaches, including Olympic champions Imre Pulai and nine times world champions Tímea Paksy.

The diagnostics team of the Hungarian Canoe Federation made a special ergometers test with interval sessions and also a general medical check up. 

“The attitude and work-morale of athletes is outstanding,” co-ordinator András Szabó said.

“They have goals and valuable thoughts. These things cannot be taught. Our task is to improve them in physical abilities and pedagogically, and also provide opportunity to gain experience.

“From the time athletes and their coaches arrive in Hungary, we provide accommodation, meals, transport and also team building programs for them.”

This year Nelo offered 24 brand-new boats for TIP participants, including 19-years-old Nikolina Mijuskovic, junior world champions from Serbia, who lined up for the ICF Sprint World Cup later in the month.

She also competed and won a gold medal in the Women’s Canoe Cup, which was also held in Szeged on May 14-15. Mijuskovic (C1 200) was not the only athlete from the TIP team who won a medal at this competition.

In C2 200, performance of Mariam Kernikasvili (Georgia) and Oleksandra Volovchik (Ukraine) was also a huge result for the team. They won the silver medal, while Kernikasvili also won a bronze in C1 500.

Gergely Horvath

Talent identification camp Hungary

Canoe Sprint
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