One of the strongest fields ever assembled will line up this weekend for the 2022 ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships in Ponte de Lima, Portugal.

Denmark’s Mads Pedersen, South Africa’s Andy Birkett and Hank McGregor, Hungary’s Vanda Kiszli and Ukraine’s Liudmyla Babak head a long list of current and former world champions in action this week. Adding to the intrigue will be the appearance of Portugal’s canoe sprint world champion, Fernando Pimenta, who is keen to take on the best marathon paddlers in the world on home water.

Kiszli is the most successful female kayak marathon paddler of the modern era, having won the past three world titles, as well as taking gold at the debut of canoe marathon at The World Games in Birmingham, Alabama, this year.

Her biggest challenges will come from teammate Zsofia Czellai-Voros, Denmark’s World Games silver medalist Cathrine Rask, and Ireland’s Jennifer Egan-Simmons.

In women’s canoe Babak has been even more dominant, the 25-year-old Ukrainian winning the past four titles.

The battle for the men’s title will pit two-time world champion Mads Pedersen of Denmark against The World Games champion Andrew Birkett of South Africa. Birkett, ICF world champion from 2018, won a titanic struggle against Pedersen in Alabama.

The unknown element will be Portugal’s Pimenta, a two-time Olympic medalist and four-time world champion over 1000 and 5000 metres. He has entered the long and short marathon and also entered the K2.

The men’s canoe title will match-up Spanish four-time world champion Manuel Campos against four-time Hungarian title holder Marton Kover.

Two canoe marathon legends will also be in action at Ponte de Lima. 44-year-old Hank McGregor is a seven-time K1 and four-time K2 world champion, and is entered in the short marathon, while Hungary’s Renata Csay has also been a seven-time K1 and 13-time K2 world champion.

45-year-old Csay will pair up with Zsofia Czellai-Voros to try and win back the title they won in 2018 and 2019.

The world championships begin in Portugal on Thursday and run through until Sunday, and will feature junior and U23 as well as senior world titles.

Denmark Mads Pedersen World Games Birmingham 2022  

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