Sixth world title for unstoppable McGregor

On day two of the ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships in Gyor, Hank McGregor won his sixth world title whilst the long reign of the home favourite Renata Csay was broken. 

In the most dramatic event of the championships so far South African McGregor produced a herculean effort to retain his K1M title. 

Midway through the K1M race it had not looked good for the champion who was back in the chasing pack over 30 seconds behind Adrian Boros (HUN) and Ivan Alonso (ESP). 

“Today was a tough day and I made a silly mistake,” admitted McGregor. “I kicked my pump part off on the fourth lap and my boat was full of water, then struggled on the fourth one.  But after the portage I managed to connect the part back, but I had lost 150m.”  

McGregor broke free with one long a short lap to go - helped by an error of Alonso’s who believed a lap too he was already on the last lap and turned prematurely – and caught the leading pair before producing the perfect finish. 

“You don’t want to give an edge against the best in the world but I knew I had to catch up sooner or later and I had to dig deep if I wanted to still win, so I pushed it hard ion that final lap to catch up,” he continued. 

“In the last turn I was in front and it was going to take somebody with something really special to get past me because once you see that finishing line and you can hear the crowd, you go numb and it’s just a matter of handing in there to the line.” 

Meanwhile, the long wait is over for the Czech Republic’s Anna Koziskova who became World Champion in the K1W for the first time in her career. 

Victory came at the expense of the sport’s greatest women’s champion and home favourite, Renata Csay, who ironically had not lost a worlds title since the Gyor venue hosted the event’s 2007 edition. 

Today Csay used her knowledge of the course to take the fasted line at the start but in choosing the deep channel she inadvertently crossed the out of bounds finish line and incurred a 15 second penalty. 

Un-phased she quickly caught the leading group, then over successive laps extended her lead into what looked like an unassailable margin. 

But Koziskova had other plans. She quietly reeled in the champion until lap five when the gap had shrunk to just a few seconds.  At the bottom turn Csay pulled over and waited for her opponent.  With confidence growing Koziskova got the front on the next portage, before stretching a lead that would see her finish 1:48.431 ahead of Csay. 

“Crossing the finish line I couldn’t understand and I couldn’t believe that she is so far behind,” said Koziskova afterwards. 

 “I have never beaten Renata and at the start today I believed it’s impossible to beat her because the start wasn’t so good for me and I lost the leading group. 

“But after the second standing point I pushed hard and I saw that I am closer and closer.  Then when I caught the leading group they didn’t want to cooperate with me and change with me, so I thought it’s possible because I felt quite strong. 

“I’m so, so happy and little bit surprised but I think finally I deserve it because I’m racing marathon since 2005, since I went to senior category, and this is my first gold medal.” 

The home crowd did not have long to wait before having another gold medal to cheer about, after Hungary’s Marton Kover outsprinted title holder Manuel Antonio Campos (ESP) in the finishing straight. 

It had been a two man race from very early on and it had always been the play of Kover to break away as soon as her could. 

“In the beginning I wanted to go away with one or two guys and it happened,” said Kover. 

“I tried in the third lap to go away from Antonio but I couldn’t do that so I made the decision to go at the finish.  Antonio was a hard competitor and the race was a success for me. 

This is the best moment of my career and it was a very good feeling to hear the crowd support on the finish line.” 

In the day’s earlier junior races Hungary’s Mate Gyorgyjakab and the pairing of Anett Fritz and Petra Jeszenszky added to the host nation’s growing tally of gold medals. 

In the K1M Gyorgyjakab turned up the speed in the final portage to put enough distance between himself and Britain’s Zyggy Chmiel and continue strongly to win. 

Fritz and Jeszenszky had led most of the K1W race after a competitor from the men’s K1 had got himself embroiled with the women on one of the first turns and separate the leafing group.

Check full results here



Canoe Marathon