The first full ICF Canoe Ocean Racing World Championships since the start of the Covid pandemic gets underway in Viana Do Castelo, Portugal, this week, and will feature many of the biggest global names in the sport.

Athletes from Australia and New Zealand, two of the strongest canoe ocean racing nations, will make a welcome return to competition this weekend after missing last year’s titles because of travel restrictions.

Australia will have one of the biggest non-European teams in action, with 12 athletes entered. Two-time world champion Cory Hill will be looking to add another title to the crowns he won in 2015 and 2017.

South Africa will be well represented. Their men’s team includes defending world champion Nicolas Notten, Andrew Birkett, who won his second ICF Canoe Marathon crown last weekend, and paddling legend Hank McGregor, who won silver behind Hill in Hong Kong in 2017.

Kenneth Rice, the brother of two-time world champion, Sean Rice, will be looking to add to the silver medal he won behind his brother in 2019, while Jasper Mocke already has two world championship bronze medals.

All the athletes in the men’s race will be keeping a close watch on Denmark’s Mads Brandt Pedersen, a two-time canoe marathon world champion who will be looking to make his mark after losing his marathon crown to Portugal’s Fernando Pimenta last weekend.

The women’s competition will see the welcome return of New Zealand’s Danielle McKenzie, who won the title in 2019 before also missing last year’s event because of Covid travel restrictions.

Her battle with South Africa’s defending world champion, Michelle Burn, and last year’s bronze medalist, Judit Verges Xifra of Spain, will be an event highlight.

For the first time ever the United Arab Emirates will have a team competing, with two athletes entered. Twenty countries have entered altogether.

Competition day will be dependent on weather conditions, with Friday shaping as the most likely day for racing.


Canoe Ocean Racing
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