After two days of Masters racing, the first day (Friday) of the ICF Marathon World Championship was made a success for marathon paddling by the Italian organisers and a record number of participants from 38 nations.
The first morning of the Rome World championships was reserved for Hungary. Gold and silver in female K1 juniors, gold in men’s K1 juniors and another victory in the men’s C1 juniors showed that the great canoeing nation of Hungary is not only present at the top of the world with seniors, but also has a new generation on the rise.
In the largest junior female race ever, and probably also the fastest, Hungary won the double - Gold to Tamara Takacs and silver to Noemi Horvath, both doing their first world championships. The bronze went to Hermien Peters from Belgium. The race provided very challenging situations with an incredible speed set by the Hungarians, trying to copy their idol and team mate the queen of marathon paddling, Renata Csay, by attempting to break free already after half the race.
Not only excellent performance and exciting races, the live television and the venue as well as the very interested and attentive crowd on the bank of the Tiber river made a fantastic atmosphere, enhanced by challenging and very exciting races with a record of participants.
The men’s juniors was dominated by a lead group of two Hungarians, Adam Petro and Balasz Havas together with the Argentinean Franco Balboa and the winner of the first 2012 world cup in Copenhagen, Casper Pretzman.
These four shifted positions to form the traditional and very beneficial Marathon Diamond (four paddlers forming a group to cooperate by one doing the hard work in front and the others resting a bit on the wash of the leader) setting the speed of the race and dominating the last lap and the challenging portages.
In the C1 Junior category, Andras Bodonyi, Hungary, dominated the race from start to finish, using sprint technique to get ahead and showing great endurance to maintain his advantage, with Samuel Amorim, Portugal in second and Patrik Varga, Hungary, third.
Like the juniors, the Under 23 category was a record-breaking event. In the female K1 category, Eva Barrios, the reigning world champion from Spain, set up a very high pace from the start and dominated the race throughout.
The 2010 gold medallist, Susanna Cicali, Italy, failed to match the very high speed. However, the experienced Lize Broekx from the famous canoeing family of Brookx from Belgium hung in, as well as Robyn Kime from South Africa, quite unexpectedly. These three girls broke free on the second lap, finishing with Barrios as a gold medalist, Kime silver and Broekx bronze.
The men’s K1 U23 was a very strange race. After a record breaking first lap, the speed decreased to slow motion, creating a large group of paddlers, sometimes up to 15 athletes all in one large pack.
South African gold medalist from 2009, Grant van der Wald, Portuguese silver medalist in the Olympics K2 1000 metres, Fernando Pimenta, and the Italian Carlo Cecchini showed superior marathon tactics until the final and very decisive portage. Van der Walt then got away and won his second gold medal, Pimenta took silver and the second Portuguese, Alfredo Faria won bronze in his very first international marathon.
Find information, schedule and results on the official website of the Rome Marathon World Championships: www.rome2012.org
All results: www.sportscene.tv/flatwater/marathon/result-archive