Denmark’s Mads Pedersen finally turned the tables on South African rival Andy Birkett and Hungarian Vanda Kiszli added another title to her impressive career on the final day of the International Canoe Federation Marathon World Cup in Ruse, Bulgaria.

Ukraine’s Liudmyla Babak confirmed once again she is unbeatable in the women’s canoe competition, while Hungary’s Marton Kover won an hard-fought men’s C1 final.

In 2022 Andy Birkett had two significant victories over two-time world champion Pedersen, beating him at the debut of canoe marathon at The World Games in Birmingham, and then taking the world championship crown from him in Portugal.

On Sunday Pedersen was taking nothing to chance, refusing to be run down over the closing stages of the Ruse World Cup. Portugal’s Jose Ramalho, a three-time world championship silver medalist, took another second place, with Birkett finishing third.

Kiszli has rarely been beaten since she won her first women’s K1 world title in 2018, adding last year’s The World Games gold medal to an already bulging trophy cabinet. On Sunday in Ruse she was once again too strong, finishing more than eight seconds clear of Hungarian teammate Panna Csepe, with Denmark’s Pernille Hostrup third.

There was also a reversal in the finish table in the men’s C1, with Hungary’s four-time world champion Marton Kover outlasting Portugal’s reigning world champion, Manuel Garrido, for the gold.

Ukraine’s Denys Davydov was third.

Like Kiszli, Liudmyla Babak has dominated her canoe marathon class for several seasons. She was at her best again on Sunday in the women’s C1, defeating Ukrainian teammate Olena Tsyhankova and Germany’s Annette Wehrmann.

Germany’s Hjordis Sommer won the women’s K1 junior title, Ireland’s Ben Higgins the men’s junior K1, and Ukrainians Danylo Melnychuk and Olesia Lem the junior men’s and women’s C1 titles.

This year’s ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships will be held in Vejen, Denmark, at the end of August.

Canoe Marathon