Vincent and Nazdrova battle set to highlight U23 world titles

Almost 1000 athletes from nearly 70 nations will line up in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, this week for the 2018 ICF Canoe Sprint U23 and Junior World Championships.

Along with the future stars of the sport, several current senior world champions will also be in action, including Canadian canoeist Katie Vincent, New Zealand kayaker Aimee Fisher, Italian canoeist Carlo Tacchini, and Belarus’s current U23 C1-500 gold medallist, Alena Nazdrova.

A total of 930 athletes from 68 nations have entered the Championships, from sprint canoe powerhouse nations Hungary and Germany, through to developing countries Djibouti and Thailand.

17-year-old Wies Siffels will be competing in her first World Championships.

“I’m feeling quite good, because the water is very fast,” Siffels said.

“At home I’m used to very slow water, so this is really nice. It’s the first year that I have competed at the World Championships, so I am not sure what to expect for myself, but I think I will do for myself quite well.

“Canoeing in the Netherlands is still quite small, but it is getting stronger. We have a large group now that is training really hard. We are definitely getting better, but we have a long way to go.”

Norway’s Jon Amund Vold will be looking to improve on the silver medal he won at the U23 European Championships.

“It’s a bit windy where I train in Norway, so I am used to the conditions we might get here this week,” Vold said.

“I’m hoping to get a medal. I won silver in the K1 1000 at the European Championships, so I’m hoping to do something similar here.

“I know that a few of the guys that competed at the European Championships are not here, but others like Australia and Canada are, so it will be a tough competition anyway.”

One of the most enticing battles is likely to come in the women’s U23 canoe races, with Vincent and Nazdrova ready to resume their battle of 12months ago.

In Pitesti, Romania, in 2017 Vincent won the C1 200 title, with Nazdrova finishing third, while the Belarusian won the C1 500, relegating Vincent to fourth.

The 2018 ICF Canoe Slalom U23 and Junior World Championships begin in Plovdiv on Thursday, and continue through until Sunday.

Italy Carlo Tacchini

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