Hometown favourite Katie Vincent lay down a warning that she won’t be giving up her canoe world title without a fight with an impressive first outing at the ICF canoe sprint world championships in Dartmouth, Canada, on Thursday.

Vincent posted the fastest qualifying time in the women’s C1 200, while there were also impressive performances from Romania’s Catalin Chirila in the men’s C1 1000, Poland’s Karolina Naja and Anna Pulawska in the women’s K2 500, and Ukraine’s Oleh Kukharyk and Igor Trunov in the men’s K2 500.

Vincent became C1 200 world champion for the first time in Copenhagen last year, and showed she is close to top form by winning her heat in 46.50 to progress straight to the final. Cuba’s Yarisleidis Duboys, unbeaten at ICF world cups this year, won the second heat.

“For me it was a very good race, because this event is very close,” Duboys said.

“I feel very strong, my heat was very strong, but I was fast. I feel confident.”

After a string of minor medals this year, Romania’s Catalin Chirila has put down a claim to be favourite for the C1 1000 title in Dartmouth by outlasting Brazil’s Olympic champion Isaquias dos Santos to post the quickest heat time.

Italy’s Carlo Tacchini also impressed by winning his heat, with Czech Martin Fuksa, unbeaten in world cups this year, finishing second.

“That was really good for my confidence, and I hope bad for his, because when Martin is not on top in his shape it is best for the rest of us, so I’m happy with my heat,” Tacchini said.

“The last two seasons with Covid restrictions and lockdowns, it hasn’t been the easiest, but I’m not blaming that. Let’s hope for a better result here. This weekend I will see how far I am from the top, from that point we can measure where we are.”

The first canoe sprint medals at this year’s world championships will be decided on Saturday.

Pics by Dezso Vekassy

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