ICF Canoe Marathon
World Championships 2017 Media Release
10 Sept 2017
Written by: Tim Whitfield
Fitting end to enthralling Marathon Worlds
Pietermaritzburg - South African Hank McGregor confirmed his
position at the top of international marathon kayaking when he
claimed his second gold medal of the ICF Canoe Marathon World
Championships by partnering Jasper Mocké to victory in the men’s
K2 race on Sunday at Camps Drift in Pietermaritzburg.
But it was Hungary who emerged from the four days of competition
as clearly the top nation at the Championships with their two
silver and two gold medals on the final day’s action taking their
total for the competition to an incredible 20 medals: 10 gold,
eight silver and two bronze.
South Africa were second on the medal table with eight medals (2
gold, 3 silver and 3 bronze) with Great Britain third on five (1,
For South Africa, McGregor added a second gold to the one he
earned for winning the K1 event on Saturday when he and Mocké
added a fourth medal to their personal tally of two golds from
2014 and 2016 and silver from 2015.
The local heroes produced a potent finish sprint to claim their
victory, but behind them, in a bizarre photo-finish for second,
the Hungarian pair of Adrián Boros and László Solti celebrated
their second position before crossing the line. That allowed
South Africa’s second boat of Andy Birkett and 18-year-old
schoolboy Jean van der Westhuyzen to finish just centimetres back
The top three were almost identical to the 2016 finish order when
McGregor and Mocke beat Boros and Solti with Birkett and Louis
Hattingh third. This win is also the third time the McGregor/Mocke
and Boros/Solti combinations have shared the top two positions
with the Hungarians winning in 2015 and grabbing silver last
There was nothing easy about the final event of the championships
with a massive group of boats jostling in a testosterone-laden
bunch for the first lap until things broke apart and there were
finally seven boats left halfway through the second lap as the
paddlers headed for the first portage.
That became five when the Hungarians were dropped just before the
first portage and their hopes of a medal looked to be fading away
as they slipped to more than 30 seconds behind the lead group.
But, in an incredible show of power paddling, the Hungarian duo
hauled themselves back into contention on lap six.
From there it was a tight tactical battle until the final portage
where, as with the K1 race on Saturday, McGregor and Birkett led
the race to the water and then held the two lead positions
through the top turn and into the final sprint for glory.
As, as with Saturday, McGregor, this time with Mocké providing
added power from the back of the boat, was able to keep his boat
in front to claim his tenth World Championship gold medal.
But for Birkett there was no repeat of Saturday as he and the
young Van der Westhuyzen were no match for the potent power of
the Boros and Solti and the Hungarian pair always looked to be
the silver medallists once the sprint started.
Luis Pérez and Miguel Llorens from Spain were fourth with
Frenchmen Stéphane Boulanger and Jérémy Candy fifth and the final
boat from the lead group, the Norwegian brothers Eivind and Jon
Vold drifting over the line in sixth.
After ten victories and three K1 and K2 double golds in 2014,
2016 and this year, it could be expected that McGregor would be a
bit blasé about winning, but he seemed somewhat overwhelmed after
"It hasn't quite sunk in yet to be honest,” said the 2015 World
Padddler of the Year. "I was never going for anything like this
and to even win one world title is something special, but to win
ten is incredible.
"To win it here in front of the home fans with Jasper was
special, and it rounded off a fantastic week for me with my
"The South African public always knew that we were good but to
watch to happen firsthand will hopefully encourage people to get
"I think that somewhere along the line someone has been inspired
to pick up a pair of paddles and give it a go.
"It's really hard racing with the K2's travelling at 22km per
hour in shallow water, but you can't get flustered and have to
just roll with the punches.”
Earlier the young Hungarian crew of Vanda Kiszli and SăRa Anna
Mihalik mixed the perfect balance of power, guile, tactics and
patience to lead a Hungarian one-two and almost match McGregor
when they both collected their second medals at the
Mihalik, who won the U23 women’s K1 title on the opening day, and
Kisli who on Saturday finished second in the women’s K1 race,
looked to be outpowered in the early exchanges with Britain’s K1
women’s winner Lani Belcher and her partner Hayleigh-Jayne Mason.
The second Hungarian crew of Renáta Csay and Alexandra Bara,
aiming to win their fourth women’s K2 title in a row, always
looked to be scratching in the lead group and the smart money was
on the British crew leading home a Hungarian two-three. The
Danish and South African crews, who made up the lead group until
the final portage, were always struggling and there seemed little
chance they would muscle in on the medals.
However, on the final portage Kiszli and Mihalik showed that
maybe their slowish portages throughout were nothing more than a
ploy, and for the first time they put in ahead of their British
rivals and had the advantage for the final 1 000m paddle to the
The move proved decisive as nobody from the front group was able
to re-connect and Kiszli and Mihalik were able to get home
relatively easily with clear water behind them.
In the battle for the minor medals, Csay showed why she came into
this championships with no less than 28 world championship to her
name. The 2014, 2015 and 2016 championship winning crew came past
Belcher and Mason fairly easily to claim the silver and relegate
the Brits to third.
The Danish duo of Emilie Rosenkilde and Henriette Engel Hansen
were fourth on the wave of the final medallists, with South
African’s Hayley Nixon and Michelle Burn a distant fifth after
they were left behind at the end of the final portage.
Hungary picked up their third medal in two races when Márton
Kövér and Ádám Dóczé outsprinted the Spanish duo of Ramon Ferro
and Oscar Grańa to claim the men’s C2 gold.
A trio of boats broke early, but just when it looked like a
fascinating three-way tussle, the second Spanish crew of Manuel
Antonio Campos and José Manuel Sánchez fell out while putting in
after a portage and, despite a quick empty and recovery, were
never able to re-connect with the leaders and had to settle for
Up front there was little to choose between the two lead boats
until the final sprint when the Hungarians unleashed an explosive
kick that had the Spanish duo down paddles with 75m remaining.
information can be found at
SUMMARY OF RESULTS - ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships Day Four
1 Vanda Kiszli/Săra Anna Mihalik (HUN) 1:56:31
2 Renáta Csay/Alexandra Bara (HUN) 1:56:44
3 Lani Belcher/Hayleigh-Jayne Mason (GBR) 1:56:45
4 Emilie Rosenkilde/Henriette Engel Hansen (DEN) 1:56:50
5 Hayley Nixon/Michelle Burn (RSA) 1:57:10
1 Márton Kövér/Ádám Dóczé (HUN) 1:59:59
2 Ramon Ferro/Oscar Grańa (ESP) 2:00:14
3 Manuel Antonio Campos/José Manuel Sánchez (ESP) 2:01:47
4 Mateusz Borgiel/Patryk Gluza (POL) 2:03:39
5 Jakub Brezina/Jan Dlouhy (CZE) 2:05:56
1 Hank McGregor/Jasper Mocke (RSA) 2:00:11
2 Adrián Boros/László Solti (HUN) 2:00:13
3 Andrew Birkett/Jean van der Westhuyzen (RSA) 2:00:15
4 Luis Pérez/Miguel Llorens (ESP) 2:00:16
5 Stéphane Boulanger/Jérémy Candy (FRA) 2:00:20
Final Medal Table
G S B TOT
10 8 2 20
South Africa 2 3 3 8
Great Britain 1 1 3 5
1 0 0 1
1 0 0 1
0 2 3 5
0 1 1 2
0 0 1 1
Czech Republic 0 0 1 1
0 0 1 1
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South Africa's Hank
McGregor and Jasper Mocké triumphed in an enthralling end sprint
to win the men's K2 race a on the final day of the 2017 ICF Canoe
Marathon World Championships in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday.
It was an impressive
display from the Hungarian duo of Vanda Kiszli and Sara Anna
Mihalik, who won the women's K1 title on the final day of the
2017 ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships in Pietermaritzburg
The men's C1 showdown
went down to the wire but it was the Hungarian pair of Márton
Kövér and Ádám Dóczé took home another gold for their country on
the final day of the 2017 ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships
in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday.
It was an impressive
comeback from the Hungarian pair of Adrián Boros and László Solti
who were off the front group for much of the first half of the
race and came through to win silver in the men's K2 on the final
day of the 2017 ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships in
Pietermaritzburg on Sunday.
The women's K2
showdown was an exciting one with three pairs in contention until
the final 100m before the Hugarian pair of Vanda Kiszli and Sara
Anna Mihalik took home gold on the final day of the 2017 ICF
Canoe Marathon World Championships in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday.
It was an exciting
race that saw a desperate end sprint between two pairs right up
until the end, but it was Márton Kövér and Ádám Dóczé who took
the gold in the men's C1 race on the final day of the 2017 ICF
Canoe Marathon World Championships in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday.
South African team
Andy Birkett and Jean van der Westhuyzen finished third in the
men's K2 on the final day of the 2017 ICF Canoe Marathon World
Championships in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday.
Pietermaritzburg locals turned up to witness the best paddlers in
the world compete over four days at Camps Drift for the 2017 ICF
Canoe Marathon World Championship this week.
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