Nejc Znidarcic and Ondrej Rolenc, two of the biggest names in the history of International Canoe Federation wildwater paddling, headline a star-studded field for this weekend’s sprint world championships in Augsburg, Germany.

Slovenia’s Znidarcic is chasing an incredible fifth consecutive K1 wildwater sprint world title, and a seventh gold in this event. Since 2010 Znidarcic has only missed a medal once – in 2016, when he finished fourth. Frenchman Maxence Barouh has won silver and bronze at the past two world titles and looms as the biggest challenger to Znidarcic.

In men’s C1 Czech Ondrej Rolenc will be chasing a fifth world title. Last year he missed a medal for the first time since 2016, announced plans to retire, but is back in Augsburg aiming to return to the podium.

Italy’s Cecilia Panato will arrive in Augsburg with two women’s C1 world titles to her name, in 2018 and 2021. Panato finished third in France last year, but will need to overcome Czech reigning world title holder Marie Nemcova, and France’s Laura Fontaine, a silver medalist from 2021.

In women’s K1, 2021 world champion Lise Vinet from France will come up against last year’s silver medalist, Klara Vankova from the Czech Republic.

In men’s C2, Czech’s Daniel Suchanek and Ondrej Rolenc finished third last year after taking gold in 2021. Czech and French teams have dominated the men’s C2 since 2015, with Pierre Troubady and Hugues Moret likely to lead the French charge this weekend after winning silver and bronze at the past two world championships.

The 2023 ICF Wildwater World Championships begin on Friday and run through until Sunday. The competition will be held for the second time on the historic Augsburg course, which hosted the first ever Olympic canoe slalom competition in 1972.

Ausburg first hosted the ICF Wildwater Sprint World Championships in 2011. More information can be found at the official ICF event page.

Cecilia Panato

Wildwater Canoeing
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