Wildwater paddlers are poised for the start of an exciting period of racing as they head to the Macedonian city of Veles.

The first two of four International Canoe Federation Wildwater Canoeing World Cups will be staged in Veles over the next two days.

Paddlers will be eager to make their mark in North Macedonia before heading to the next two World Cups in Mezzana, Italy from June 20 to 22.

Competition in Veles will begin on Saturday when sprint World Cup titles will be on the line before the classic races will be contested on Sunday.

Italy’s Cecilia Panato, a silver medallist in the women’s C1 sprint at last year’s ICF Wildwater Canoeing World Championships, will be competing in four events.

She will be eyeing individual success in the women’s C1 sprint, women’s C1 classic, women’s K1 sprint, women’s K1 classic.

Fellow Italian and world medallist Mathilde Serena Rosa will also be aiming to get in amongst the medals in the women’s K1 sprint and women’s K1 classic.

France’s Margot Beziat, the reigning world champion in the women’s C2 sprint, is another leading name in action.

Beziet will contest the women’s C1 sprint and women’s C1 classic as well as team up with Emma Lacoste in the women’s C2 sprint and women’s C2 classic.

Hannah Mueller 2022 wildwater canoeing

Switzerland’s Hannah Mueller, who also picked up a medal in the women’s C2 sprint at the 2023 World Championships, is participating in Veles as she prepares to line up in the women’s K1 sprint and women’s K1 classic.

Albania, Australia, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czechia, Estonia, Germany, Great Britain, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia are the other nations being represented across the two World Cups this weekend.

As well as the competition, Veles is holding an ICF Wildwater Canoeing coaching seminar for 26 participants.

Croatia’s Tomislav Crnkovic and Great Britain’s Jamie Christie, two recognised international coaches and lecturers, will lead two sessions of 90 minutes in the evenings of yesterday and today.

They will address the question: “What is the training pathway for a young paddler to reach an elite level of practice in Wildwater Canoeing?”

“It is a very exciting period for Wildwater Canoeing with four World Cups in the space of just one week,” said Manuela Gawehn, Chair of the ICF Wildwater Canoeing Committee.

“This is a great opportunity for paddlers to star on the international stage.

“We are delighted to bring the World Cup to Veles as it is a beautiful city and I am sure they will deliver a fantastic event for paddlers.

“Our first Wildwater Canoeing coaching seminar being held in Veles is also very important as part of our development of the sport.”

Full coverage of this week's event can be viewed on the Planet Canoe YouTube channel.

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