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This year's annual ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships in Singapore is the most anticipated canoe marathon world championships in many years; it is also the first time that an Asian country hosts the event, which will also serve as an Asian Championships. New Asian countries will be welcomed to the event for the very first time and the Singapore Canoe Federation, the Host Organising Committee, is anticipating the largest number of participants ever at a Canoe Marathon World Championships.
So far forty countries have confirmed their participation; these countries include China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Thailand, Spain, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. The event begins from 21-23 October 2011 and the venue is one of Singapore's most famous landmarks - the breathtaking Marina Bay.
Athletes will compete in six different race categories, from distances of 17km to 30km and they will be expected to navigate through water currents, starting from the Marina Reservoir towards the Benjamin Sheares Bridge. A highlight of the races is that the portage will require athletes to get out of the water, carry their boat, run across a designated lane on a football pitch, before getting back in the water and paddling off to begin the next lap; races will last two to three hours.
The event kicks off on Wednesday 19 October with the Masters K1 racing. Watch out for the NZ team as there are some very experienced, competitive paddlers in each of the three masters age groups... Keith Alderson (55-59 age group), Ben Bennett ( 60-65 age group), Matt Blundell and Glenn Muirhead (40-45 age group). Keith and Ben will also compete in the Masters K2 on Thursday 20 October.
The ICF 19th Canoe Marathon World Champs start on Friday 21 October and the NZ team sees the U23s first up with Sam Newlands and William Wilkins in the U23 division. Both were key players in the NZ Marathon Champs in April coming first and second consecutively.
They will be followed on Saturday with the Mens and Womens Open K1s: Ben Fouhy, Matt Blundell and Marianne Archer. All are in fine form, with Ben fresh off a gold medal performance at the Australian Marathon Champs earlier in the year as well as winning the Open Mens division at the NZ Marathon Champs alongside Womens Open winner Marianne Archer. For both of them it was their 5th consecutive NZ marathon title, and for Matt Blundell his second place behind Ben was a good lead-up to this event.
On Sunday there will be two NZ crews competing in the Open K2: Crew # 1(Sam Newlands, Glen Muirhead), Crew #2, (Ryan Welch, Jason Anderson)
Who else to watch:
Men’s K1: This class is still led by Manual BUSTO FERNANDEZ of Spain who was the K1 winner of the Sella Descent and the Waterland Marathon. Hank McGREGOR of South Africa is in second place. Stuart West from Great Britain is in 3rd place.
Women’s K1: This event is now led by Hilary PITCHFORD from South Africa, Robyn Kime from South Africa is in 2nd place and Sarah Millest from Great Britain is in 3rd place.
Results of the six Canoe Marathon events this year can be found at the links below.
Rio Negro – http://www.regatadelrionegro.com.ar/
Dusi Canoe Marathon –www.dusi.org.za
Waterland Marathon - www.kvviking.nl/2009/en/amsterdam-waterland-marathon.html
Sella Descent - www.descensodelsella.com
Avon Descent - www.avondescent.com.au
Dalsland Marathon - www.kanotmaraton.se