Category: International

World Championships 2023 – Race Report

At the end of August, our 12-strong World Championships team flew out to Vejen, Denmark to compete in the final marathon international of the 2023 season. The Danish held a fantastic European Championships last year and they didn’t fail to disappoint, mimicking last year’s slick and well-organised event. The deep, idyllic Lake Jels was the perfect venue for tight racing, big groups and exciting portages.

After earning five medals at the European Championships earlier in the summer and having seen the Masters kick off with a successful two days of racing (including four medals, two of which were gold!), the team was excited to get on the water and race! This was supported by the enthusiasm demonstrated from all the British spectators and supporters who made the journey out to cheer on the team.

Paracanoe Race’s

2023 saw the return of the Paracanoe demonstration races with four paddlers selected to represent Great Britain at this years event. After a hugely successful competition last year, the International Canoe Federation is starting to see the potential of including Paracanoe in marathon racing. We are hoping it will become a permanent edition in 2025!

The first day of para racing took place on the Wednesday and it was Shaun Cook’s (Norwich Canoe Club) chance to race against the other Va’a paddlers representing Brazil. After achieving bronze last year, Shaun was back for more and keen to improve on the result. A consistent race saw him claw his way through the field to demonstrate a quick sprint finish, claiming the gold medal for his men’s VL2 race.

Speaking after his race, Shaun said, “Very, very excited to win the gold medal. It hurt like hell but I really enjoyed it. It was a tough race especially the last corner. I was fighting waves on the last corner and I could see Brazil closing the gap so I paddled like crazy until the end. As I crossed the line I was pushing myself so hard I wasn’t sure if I’d done it. So it was fantastic to hear the result.”

“The venue is amazing, a beautiful place to paddle and there’s been a friendly welcome from everyone. I want thank everyone here and everyone at Norwich Canoe Club. The support I’ve had has been amazing. The Gold medal is shared with all of you.”

After a nervous couple days of waiting for their turn, the rest of the team took to the water on Friday. In the men’s KL2 class, Jon White (Exeter Canoe Club) found himself on a combined start line with the men’s KL1 and KL3 class, including fellow team members Tim Lodge (Wey Kayak Club) and Charlie Knowlden (Royal Leamington Spa Canoe Club). A quick start saw a strong break for the top group of the KL3 class, with Tim and Charlie making the cut. Jon was not sure whether the racers in front of him were his class or another so he put down an impressive chase to be sure. A strong head-to-head battle saw an intense last small lap in the KL3 class. Coming off the final turn buoy, Charlie launched an attack and managed to hold the pace as he got closer and closer to the line. In his debut international race, Charlie Knowlden took gold with Tim Lodge coming in an incredibly close second.

Speaking to Charlie after his win, he said, “I haven’t really processed it yet, I’m going to feel great in about an hour and my ego is going to be through the roof, but for now I’m just trying to not be sick. Before the race I was pretty nervous as this was my first world championship ever and I was competing against some of the best. As soon as those start gates dropped I just tried to remember all of my training and tried to get on the side of one of the washes. I remained on that right side for all three long laps and then on that short lap I saw that they might try to push me out on the finish line so I thought I’m going to make a move now and I just sent it and came first.

“I’ve done about four (marathon races before today). I have to thank all my coaches for pushing me well out of my comfort zone and all that training has paid off. I got this first place because of them. A shout out to my coaches Sam Glover, Attila Herbent, Tibor and Sam Cribbett, my main marathon guy, and Tim Scott. I started off doing pool sessions in a recreational boat. They saw I had a talent for it and the slalom team picked me up and I did a couple races there and enjoyed it. All of the white water guys were pushing me to do bigger white water so that is where I get my balance from and that has shaped me into a well rounded paddler. When I did start sprint about a year ago, I picked it up really fast and now I’m here. I’m really proud of myself and I enjoy this sport so much. It’s been a life changer.”

In the KL2 race, Jon White was putting down the hammer and had opened up a massive 3-minute gap over the rest of the field as he crossed the line to take gold. This was a step up the podium for Jon as he took silver in the same race in 2022.

Speaking after his race, he said,“I’m pretty excited. It was quite stressful racing because we had a combined start, so I knew three of the people in the race ahead of me weren’t in my category, but the fourth person I wasn’t sure about. But around halfway around the race I got the news that he wasn’t in my category and that I was in the lead. After that I focused on holding my pace and worked hard right to the end. I’m very very happy and tired. My heart rate was probably averaging up around 190 for the race, so I was working really hard.

“I got a silver in this race last year, so to get the gold this year is pretty amazing. I was hopeful but the problem is with the para races, we don’t have any other races throughout the year, so you’ve got no idea who is going to turn up, what they’ve done in the last twelve months, so you just have to give it your all and hope for the best.”

Jon’s medal concluded an incredibly successful championship for our para team with the highest possible medal count we could earn (three golds, one silver from a race where we also won gold). This strongly reflects the para talent and support within our country and puts us in a good place moving into the next season.

The Para Team Manager, Tim Scott, reflected after a successful few days, “Our British team were an inspirational squad, all with individual backstories showing a remarkable tenacity that has underpinned their ability to even paddle, let alone train and compete at an international standard.”

“There is a danger sometimes that para achievements can be taken for granted or not seen as demonstrations of elite sport, but attitudes are changing and it’s a huge credit to the MRC and British Canoeing in going out of their way to support the development of the British Para marathon team.”

“[The results produced] reflect not just individual excellence but also are a credit to a club system that has really supported them, along with valuable input from the British Canoeing para coaches. [This demonstrates] a comfortable performance department/ club partnership in para.”

“It was an amazing privilege to be team manager for the group and they all should be incredibly proud not just of their performances on the water but also of their positive, generous, trail blazing and inspirational attitude that will allow other para paddlers to follow in the future.”

For a recap of the full results, you can visit the event results here.

Junior Race’s

The K1 Junior Women were first on the water on Thursday Morning taking on the long course distance of 17.7km. Greta Roeser (Wey Kayak Club), current European Champion for the short course distance and vice-European Champion in the long course, was joined on the start line by fellow Brit Isla Bethune (Elmbridge Canoe Club) and both girls had a stellar start to the race. They successfully avoided the collisions and carnage that caused one of the race favourites, Molner (Hungary), to capsize off the start. 

Both Isla and Greta established themselves at the front of a large lead group and held their positions throughout the opening lap, showing strength and confidence around washes.

However the second portage brought heartbreak for the Elmbridge paddler who knocked her rudder on the get out of the portage. After battling some some serious steering issues, Isla was unfortunately forced to withdraw from the race.

Greta continued to power around the course and maintained a top three position throughout, desperately battling for the gold. However, no matter the move, Szerafin of Hungary was too strong and broke away to claim the title. Greta matched her European Championships results with another silver medal in the long course. She completed the course in a time of 1:27:32. 

Speaking after her race Greta said, “I’m happy with my race today especially when I’m up against some clever racers which all contribute to the bank of experience I’m gathering. I’m really looking forward to watching my teammates race over the next few days.”

In one of the arguably most exciting Junior Women’s K2 race in years, Greta returned to the water with Sienna Payne (Chelmsford Canoe Club) to see if they could clinch another medal for the British team on day two of the championships.

It was fast off the line and the British crew found themselves in the chase group as four boats broke away, led by a fast Hungarian crew. It was a long first lap of chasing for our girls but they were able to close the gap during the middle of lap two as they approached the first portage. Both girls were fast on the portages and had a good get in, ready to push on around the next lap, but the chasing started again as another Hungarian crew decided to break away into the lead. It seemed the British, South African’s and Spanish were in competition for silver or bronze as the gap remained consistent over the next few laps.

And then suddenly it wasn’t. The gap started to close ever so slightly and pressure kicked in. Into the approach of the second to last portage, the chase group overtook a canoe paddler off the back of another race on the course. A slight lapse of judgment caused Roeser & Payne to collide with him, leaving a gap between them and the medals to open up. The only hope they had was to chase and chase hard.

However, the group in front of them were also chasing and the gap to the lead boat started to close drastically. Within half a lap, the leaders and the chase group were back together and Roeser & Payne found themselves a matter of metres away from making the group. A strong last portage run put them back into contention for the medals as they battled around the final small lap. They crossed the line in an impressive fourth place with a time of 1:21:40.

Speaking with the star duo after their race, they said:

S “We did really well. We’re really happy with the result.

G “It was quite exciting to see how it kept changing and forming and moving around. Being behind and watching the race ahead you see the front group moving around and doing so many burns. Whereas we were doing a steady pace in a group and doing equal leads.”

S “The Hungarian boat broke free and then we were in a group of three with us the Spanish and the South Africans and we were trying to catch them and then on the turn one of the C1 boats didn’t move out the way on the turn”

G “The C1 was going wide so I thought we could nip through but then they went close so we had to do a bit of back paddling and then I think we struggled to try and recover from that. It was a really hard lap”

S “As we neared the bottom turn we were definitely a lot closer, you could see the V but we just couldn’t quite get there in time”

The weekend saw the turn of the Junior Boy’s races with Harry Freeland (Reading Canoe Club) taking on the K1 in his final international as a junior and James Ross & Will Short (both Elmbridge Canoe Club) racing in the K2, despite only being under 16 at the time.

Bright and early on Saturday morning, Harry lined up on a packed and competitive start line ready to face the 21km distance. Freeland managed to maintain pace with the leaders as the race got underway, but dropped back after the first turn due consistent jumps and changes in the front group.

He put an effort in to reach the back of the leaders going around lap one, but was unable to maintain the positions as he dropped back to lead the chase group around the next laps. He put on a dedicated performance around the course to finish in 15th place with a time of 1:38:13.

On Sunday morning, it was the turn of the K2. It was a packed start line and carnage ensued within the first 100m with multiple crews taking a dip. Unfortunately, Will and James were amongst them with a crash, spin and swim at the start of their race.

Despite the cold dip, the duo showed their commitment to finishing their international racing debut race and continued to graft around the 21km course. They crossed the line in a commendable 20th place with a time of 1:41:22. As they are both under sixteen, they still have two years within the junior category to develop their skills further.

Under 23 Race’s

The Under 23 category offers an opportunity for athletes to continue developing their skills on the international stage once they have left junior, without having to jump straight into the senior ranks. However, these races tend to be just as competitive as the senior races and offer a fantastic challenge for our British athletes to compete against some world class paddlers.

Isla Bethune (Elmbridge Canoe Club) was back in action in the U23 Women’s K1 after an unfortunate rudder issue meant she had to retire from her race in the junior. Racing up into the category, she had a great start to her race and established herself in the leading group. She maintained the strong position around the first two laps, demonstrating skill and speed as she fought for washes against some racers that are four years older than her.

Coming into the first portage, Bethune lost contact with the race leaders and she started to drop back within the field. She powered on and put on a dedicated performance around the course to finish in 16th position. She completed the 21k course in a time of 1:51:04.

Luke Shaw (Norwich Canoe Club) and Matt Collinge (Fowey River Canoe Club) were representing the Brits in the U23 Men’s K1 race. Both had had a very busy season after competing at the boiling hot European Championships as well as many of the U23 Sprint internationals and even some of the senior ones! The Marathon World Championships presented a last opportunity for Luke and Matt to race within the U23 category on the international stage.

Collinge stormed off the start and established a great position within the lead group. Luke battled with a crowded field off the line and ended up being involved with a couple collisions, making it hard to maintain the high speed the front group was setting. The first few laps was just a battle for survival and as lap two started, both Brits were back paddling together within a chase group and attempting to return to the front of the race. The gaps between the group continued to yo-yo throughout majority of the distance.

A huge effort from Luke in lap six saw him spectacularly rejoin the leaders heading into the penultimate portage. He had a strong and determined portage, and settled into the second v-wash of the lead group.

The Danish boat of Knudsen set the pace high on the last portage. It caused the group to split and Shaw was left in a chase group again for the final small lap of the race.

The Norwich paddler crossed the line in an impressive eighth place with a time of 1:47:00. Collinge continued to power around the 24.3km course after dropping back. He finished in an admirable 14th place with a time of 1:50:16.

A valiant effort from all three racers in the U23 category and hopefully lots of reflections and lessons learnt as they continue to develop within the sport.

Senior Race’s

Short Course

Short Course racing has been taking place for a number of years now at the World Championship stage and it is quickly becoming a highlight to the schedule. Both the Senior Men and Women K1 finals required athletes to qualify from heats earlier in the morning. The first six boats across the line and the next eight best times across the two heats secured places in the final. This resulted in some tight racing.

Melissa Johnson (Chelmsford Canoe Club) was first up to compete around the 3.4km course. She had a great heat, finishing in sixth place and earning her automatic qualification to the final. Later in the day, she took to the water within an incredibly competitive final. The race was dominated by Swedish paddler Melina Andersen, and Johnson spent the majority of her race in the chase group hunting down the leaders. Johnson put in a dedicated effort and secured an impressive top 10 finish in her first Marathon World Championships as a senior.

James Russell and Matthew Johnson, both also Chelmsford Canoe Clubs paddlers, both comfortably qualified for the final after success in their respective heats earlier in the day.

It was a stacked start line for the Men’s K1 final. Matt Johnson worked his way through the field and attempted to establish a position towards the front of the group. There was plenty of movement within the group and the first portage was an opportunity for Russell to gain a few places and push back up the field. Both Brits continued to power around the 3.4km course. A sprint to the finish line secured Russell his top ten finish. He earned ninth place with a time of 00:14:53.

Matt Johnson was not far behind, he finished in 14th place with a time of 00:15:09.

Speaking with James after his race, he said: “It was pretty tough today, it didn’t go quite my way, not as well as I would have hoped for going into it after my strong performance in the heats. I didn’t get out the start particularly well for me.

“Usually I can get towards the front of the race early on, but I wasn’t able to do that this time and once you’re on the back foot in those races, it’s hard to get to the front foot. Going forward from my side I now know I need to work on the start a bit more, and hopefully that will help me improve a little bit.”

“With so many people in the race, you can find someone to drag you back, and Alonso was my ticket back to the front, but as soon as I got there Pimenta, just went off again, and when he goes, he’s quite quick. He’s fresh off winning the K1 1000 sprint race in Duisburg (2023 Canoe Sprint World Championships) so it was very tough being on the uphill side of that burn.

“Once everything settled down, I was happy with how I raced and I was comfortable within the second group and nearly won it on the sprint finish, but still made the top 10 and I’m happy that I’ve managed to stay in the top 10 this year.”

Long Course

The long course racing saw another chance for our senior paddlers to make their mark on the international fields.

First up on the Saturday was Melissa Johnson (Chelmsford Canoe Club) as she took on the Senior Women’s K1. She didn’t quite make it to the lead group off the line and had to put a huge effort paddling solo around the first lap in an attempt to chase down the leaders

Heading into the first portage of the race, Melissa was joined by the Argentinian boat of Collueque. She had a great run and both boats went into lap three paddling as a duo.

She continued to power around the 24.3km course, paddling in the same pair for the remaining laps, and finished in 11th place, completing the course in a time of 2:07:43.

Speaking after her race, Melissa said, “It’s been a great learning experience at my first senior worlds. I’m looking forward to a solid winter to see what I can improve on for next year.”

The last race of the day on Saturday saw James Russell (Chelmsford Canoe Club) line up for the K1 Senior Men’s race.

It was yet again a highly contested start line and Russell has a brilliant start finding a back wash position in the large lead group. Trouble struck coming into the first portage, Russell lost valuable time due to a rudder issue that needed sorting. A quick fix and James pushed on into the next lap, determined to make up ground.

However, another stop on the fourth portage to fix his rudder once again meant he unfortunately dropped further back in the field. Despite his boat issues, James was committed to the race around the 27.6km course and ultimately crossed the line in 20th place with a time of 2:08:10.

The last race of the event saw the Senior Men K2 crews line up within a field of high caliber athletes.

Great Britain had two crews in the mix with Chelmsford Canoe Club’s Matt Johnson and Alex McIntyre, plus James Russell (Chelmsford Canoe Club) was also back in action teaming up with Luke Shaw of Norwich Canoe Club.

Both crews were swift off the start line and gained good positions in the back of the lead group. This was maintained around lap one, however Russell and Shaw dropped back to lead the chase group at the start of lap 2. 

Johnson and McIntyre clung to the back of the leading group around lap two, but as the pace quickened coming into the first portage, they fell behind and joined fellow Brits in the chase group.

As the lead group arrived into the first portage, the Danish boat of Knudsen and Maretti took a swim on the get out. Johnson and McIntyre came into the portage whilst the Danish boat were trying to recover, and in the heat of racing caused an obstruction for the Danes that landed them with an unfortunate 30 second penalty. The penalty was only awarded as they headed out into lap three and were not aware.

In lap three, both British crews put in a huge effort in an attempt to catch the leaders and significantly closing the gap. Russell and Shaw got away well after the second portage hunting down the leaders. However, it was heartbreak for the Chelmsford duo as they stopped to take their penalty.

It was a huge effort for Johnson and McIntyre around the next lap, and on the get in of the fourth portage, they joined the Spanish and Danish crews as a chase trio. A hard graft saw them rejoin the chase group ahead.

The race shifted in lap six as the gap between the chasers and the leaders was bridged. The 2022 K2 World Champions, Pimenta and Ramahlo of Portugal, put down another burn in an attempt to split the group but Russell and Shaw made it stick and continued on with the lead group.

The pace slowed going into lap seven and the Chelmsford and Norwich team secured a solid place on the lead side wash. Matt and Alex endeavoured solo behind the large lead group, grinding hard to gain contact.

James and Luke stayed with the leaders until the final small lap as the group started to thin out towards the finish line. An impressive top ten for Russell and Shaw on the world stage as they cross the finish line in 9th place with a time of 1:55:16. It was 13th for Johnson and McIntyre with a time of 1:57:23.

After the race, James and Luke said, “It was the first time we had raced this boat internationally. The first two laps we had a technical issue which sorted itself out after we had a chance to run at the first portage. We really enjoyed ourselves, riding the big waves in the second group, catching up to the front group and then racing within that front group. We were a little caught out with a little bit of firepower coming out of that last portage but we are really pleased with the race.”

Team Leader, Fay Lamph, reflected on the busy week of racing, “We took a small team of twelve made up of some experienced paddlers and some racing at this level for the first time. The support for each other amongst the team was brilliant to see and our athletes demonstrated some really intelligent and determined paddling even if the race didn’t always go to plan. It was particularly great to watch all our crew boats getting involved in such exciting K2 racing. All the athletes should be proud of their performances and I was impressed with the professionalism shown by the team. Thank you to Scott, Andy and Julian who worked tirelessly to ensure that boats, athletes and the team leader were in the right place at the right time.”

For a recap of the full results, you can visit the event results here.

Full live streams for each day have now been uploaded to the Planet Canoe Youtube Channel. Click the link below to see the full list of live streams.

Thank you to Precision Fuel & Hydration for their support of our international athletes. Click here to find out more.

Masters Racing 2023: World Canoe Marathon Championships Report

Jel, Denmark, 28th August & 29th August 2023

This year the British Masters Team was made up of 34 paddlers, even bigger than the 30 paddlers we had in Portugal in 2022. The growth doesn’t seem to be just for our team either! The number of paddlers entered and racing was far bigger than in most of the recent World Masters Championships, with many of the starts having over 30 paddlers on the start line and causing some very intense racing!  

Similar to last year when Denmark hosted the European Championships, the weather was un-predictable. Monday was windy and Tuesday was rainy, with short sharp showers in the afternoon.

As typical, the Monday was dedicated to the K1 races and we soon showed that our strength was not only in numbers. Brian Greenham (Reading Canoe Club) got the Gold in the Men’s 70 -74 K1 with Gilbert Speirs (Linlithgow Kayak Racing) winning the bronze medal.

Not to be out-done, Edgar Boehm (Reading Canoe Club) got the Bronze in the Men’s K1 45-59 category.

Tuesday saw the K2 and C2 races.  Edgar Boehm (Reading Canoe Club) and Juan Abellanas (Barking & Dagenham Canoe Club) showed the way with a gold medal in the  35-39 Men’s K2 race after a dominant performance.

Our team was made up of some experienced British Masters paddlers and boosted by some of our International novice paddlers who showed that they were equal to the challenge. We were honoured to have Ivan Lawler (Elmbridge Canoe Club) join us on the water as well, when his commentating duties permitted.   

Full results

Men’s K1 65-69:

  • 15th – Derek Marshall (Linlithgow Kayak Racers)
  • 18th – Peter Gorman (Wey Kayak Club)
  • 21st – Kenneth Fraser (Independent)
  • 27th – Bryn Price (Maidstone Canoe Club)

Men’s K1 70-74:

  • 1st – Brian Greenham (Reading Canoe Club)
  • 3rd – Gilbert Speirs (Linlithgow Kayak Racers)
  • 18th – Gordon Bullock (Barking & Dagenham Canoe Club)

Men’s K1 75-79:

  • 8th – Robert Scholey (Chester Canoe Club)

Women’s K1 65-69:

  • 10th – Jane Millar (Nottingham Kayak Club)

Men’s K1 35-39:

  • 6th – Juan Caruncho (Barking & Dagenham Canoe Club)

Men’s K1 55-59:

  • 15th – Onno Bokhove (Cambridge Canoe Club)
  • 27th – Calum Urquhart (Nairn Canoe Club)
  • 28th – Donald Gardner (Linlithgow Kayak Racers)

Men’s K1 45-49:

  • 3rd – Edgar Boehm (Reading Canoe Club)

Men’s K1 60-64:

  • 20th – Mark Blatchly (Nottingham Kayak Club)

Women’s K1 45-49:

  • 7th – Gina Moullec (Gloucester Canoe Club)

Women’s K1 50-59:

  • 10th – Kelly Barkway (Broadland Paddle Sport)

Men’s K2 65-69:

  • 5th – Brian Greenham (Reading Canoe Club) & Peter Gorman (Wey Kayak Club)
  • 6th – Kenneth Fraser (Independent) & Gilbert Speirs (Linlithgow Kayak Racers)
  • 12th – Andy Nevitt (Worcester Canoe Club) & Julian Gilbert (Worcester Canoe Club)

Women’s K2 45-49:

  • 4th – Gina Moullec (Gloucester Canoe Club) & Emma Watts (Wey Kayak Club)

Women’s K2 50-54:

  • 7th – Kelly Barkway (Broadland Paddle Sport) & Caroline Banson (Broadland Paddle Sport)

Men’s K2 35-39:

  • 1st – Juan Caruncho (Barking & Dagenham Canoe Club) & Edgar Boehm (Reading Canoe Club)

Men’s K2 55-59:

  • 7th – Simon Derham (Runcorn Canoe Club) & Ono Bokhove (Cambridge Canoe Club)
  • 9th – Calum Urquhart (Nairn Canoe Club) & Mark Blatchly (Nottingham Kayak Club)
  • 10th – Donald Gardner (Linlithgow Kayak Racers) & Derek Marshall (Linlithgow Kayak Racers)

Mixed K2 65+:

  • 4th – Brian Greenham (Reading Canoe Club) & Ann Green (Australia)
  • 8th – Bryn Price (Maidstone Canoe Club) & Jane Millar (Nottingham Kayak Club)

Thank you to Bryn Price for his help in putting this report together. We look forward to hearing all about the Master’s adventures in the 2024 season next year.

World Championships 2023 – How to follow along and cheer on the team!

Our 2023 World Championships team has successfully arrived in Denmark ahead of racing starting tomorrow. Our paracanoe athletes will be first on the water on Wednesday afternoon while the rest of the team competes over the remaining four days, finishing on Sunday 3rd September.

Start lists and live results for the para events can be found here, whereas all over events can be found here. Any live updates from our British team will be shared via our social media platforms.

All racing will be live streamed via the PlanetCanoe Recast Channel. For full information on how to use Recast, visit our watch canoe marathon page. Recast is currently offering a 7-day pass for 450 credits, which will give viewers unlimited access to all PlanetCanoe streams for the next 7-days. Visit the main channel page for further details on how to access it.

Wednesday 30th August Schedule & Live Stream

14:00 BSTVL2 MenShaun Cook (Norwich)

Thursday 31st August Schedule & Live Stream

07:30 BSTJunior Women K1Greta Roeser (Wey)
Isla Bethune (Elmbridge)
10:00 BSTSenior Women K1 Short Course Heat 2Melissa Johnson (Chelmsford)
10:25 BSTSenior Men K1 Short Course Heat 1James Russell (Chelmsford)
10:45 BSTSenior Men K1 Short Course Heat 2Matthew Johnson (Chelmsford)
16:45 BSTSenior Women K1 Short Course Final
17:15 BSTSenior Men K1 Short Course Final

Friday 1st September Schedule & Live Stream

07:50 BSTJunior Women K2Greta Roeser (Wey) & Sienna Payne (Chelmsford)
10:35 BSTKL2 MenJonathan White (Exeter)
10:40 BSTKL3 MenTimothy Lodge (Wey)
Charlie Knowlden (Royal Leamington Spa)
13:30 BSTU23 Women K1Isla Bethune (Elmbridge)
15:45 BSTU23 Men K1Luke Shaw (Norwich)
Matthew Collinge (Fowey)

Saturday 2nd September Schedule & Live Stream

07:50 BSTJunior Men K1Harry Freeland (Reading)
13:15 BSTSenior Women K1Melissa Johnson (Chelmsford)
15:30 BSTSenior Men K1James Russell (Chelmsford)

Sunday 3rd September Schedule & Live Stream

07:50 BSTJunior Men K2James Ross & William Short (Elmbridge)
13:00 BSTSenior Mens K2Matthew Johnson & Alex McIntyre (Chelmsford)
James Russell (Chelmsford) & Luke Shaw (Norwich)

World Championships & Para Demonstration 2023 Selection Announcement

Following the National Championships, the Selection Committee met to select the two teams for the Worlds. Thank you to Norwich Canoe Club for hosting a successful weekend of racing. See below for the full selection note and handicap data.

We would like to congratulate the athletes on their selections to their respective teams.

European Championships 2023 – Race Report

Although it now feels longer after all the action that happened at the National Championships last weekend, the European Championships were only two weeks ago! A 13-strong team of athletes travelled to Slavonski Brod, Croatia, bright and early on Tuesday 11th July to be greeted by sweltering hot temperatures.

The racing took place over four-days, with the first day dedicated to short course racing for both Junior and Senior athletes for the first time. Long course racing in both K1 and K2 categories took place over the next three days. It was set to be very competitive with 307 athletes representing 23 European Countries.

The European Championship Team at dinner after the opening ceremony.

Short Course Racing – Thursday 13th July

Day one of the 2023 ECA Canoe Marathon European Championships saw some impressive and tight short course distance racing, resulting in one gold medal, one silver medal and one bronze medal.

The morning events consisted of short course heats for our junior and senior men. Some strong racing resulted in James Russell (Chelmsford Canoe Club), Harry Freeland (Reading Canoe Club) and Arthur Morley (Wey Kayak Club) automatically qualifying to their finals in the afternoon and Matthew Collinge (Fowey River Canoe Club) earning a best time qualification place too.

The Junior Women K1 Short Course was the first final of the day with British representation in Greta Roeser (Wey Kayak Club) and Sienna Payne (Chelmsford Canoe Club).

A powerful start for Greta allowed her to claim a lead position with the front group. Throughout the 3.4km course, she was consistently able to show her dominance within the field and after going clear from the rest of the field at the first portage, the European Champion title was hers for the taking. She claimed a magnificent gold and the first British medal of the competition with a time of 00:15:41.

Speaking after being crowned European champion, Greta said, “I’m really pleased, it is such a positive result and I’m very happy with gold. With the course being on a river, you’ve got flow and you’ve got different angles of the portages and different locations of the buoys. It creates a different technical event, which is quite interesting because I was having to think about my next move and the next turn as well as putting in the strength and power. It’s been a great first day for the team, the junior team are just flying at the moment and I think we are all very proud of our accomplishments. It’s all due to some great training throughout the winter. I’m excited and looking forward to the long course. I hope it will be similar because that would be great, but there are a lot of quick people out there so I’m hoping to get on some quick washes.”

In her international canoe marathon racing debut with one year still to go as a junior, Sienna had a brilliant race that saw her claim the bronze medal. As well as being a strong paddler, she was also very fast paced over the 100m portages, making up a few places on her first portage. She came into her second portage in third and a quick run saw her get back in the water and comfortably maintain the third place position round the final lap before she crossed the line bringing the bronze medal home.

Speaking after her bronze medal finish, Sienna said, “It’s very overwhelming and unexpected to be honest, I’m quite pleased and happy with the result. I hope the rest of the weekend goes this well. It’s been nice so far, although very hot. The course is good and I really like the length of the portage, that is a big positive for me.”

The Juniors continued to shine in the Men’s K1 Short Course Final. Harry Freeland (Reading Canoe Club) had a great start to the 3.4km race. He established his place in the front group in the opening lap, taking up the lead going into the first portage. An impressive run made him the first boat back in the water. He broke away from the rest of the field with the Spanish boat of Pazos. An epic sprint finish saw the two boats cross the finish line within a second of each other. Freeland secured silver and third medal of the day for the Brits with a time of 00:14:06.

Speaking after his race, Harry said, “My race went really well. It was a race where I knew where I was going with the portages and the turns, so overall the race really went my way. I was surprised with how I compared to my competitors. After last year’s results I thought I might be towards the backend of the group. It gives me the confidence for Saturday’s long course that I can be up there. I spoke with Charlie Smith about portaging before I started to get some advice. He said to take your time and spending that extra second to get yourself in the right position will help you get a better race. With junior boys, it can be so unpredictable, so it’s about staying calm and staying clean. I’ve practised portaging quite a lot and I do a lot of running, so it’s definitely my strong side.”

Arthur Morley (Wey Kayak Club) was close behind his teammate, putting in a solid effort in the middle of the field. He secured himself a top ten finish in ninth place with a time of 00:14:55 in his international debut.

Fay Lamph (Wey Kayak Club) was representing Britain in the Senior Women’s K1 Short Course race after five years away from international marathon competition. She had a good start to her race, gaining a comfortable position in the second V wash of the lead group. However, she consistently found herself on the fifth wash of the group and ultimately finished in a strong seventh with a time of 00:15:48.

The Senior Men closed off the day with a highly contested K1 Short Course race. James Russell (Chelmsford Canoe Club) was joined by U23 paddler Matthew Collinge (Fowey River Canoe Club) as they lined up in a stacked start line.

A powerful start from Russell saw him secure a promising front V wash position. He maintained his position within the leading group around the opening laps and into the first portage. This put him a particularly strong position as the reining European Champion, Mads Pedersen, had got caught up in a series of crashes and incidents off the start. A solid run saw him obtain third position out of the first portage. However a lead group of three started to break away, made up of two previous short course champions with Pedersen managing to catch up just in time, leaving Russell in fourth. A battle around the final lap, solidified the fourth place position for Russell, bettering his sixth place finish at the European Championship last year by two places. He finished with a time of 00:13:45.

Speaking after his race he said, “I’ve got mixed emotions, no one likes finishing fourth, but it’s an improvement on last year and I’m heading in the right direction. There is a lot of flow on the course, which is similar to the River Trent in many respects which helps as I train there a lot. But starting on the left hand side certainly didn’t help things. I just had to really commit to the first turn to make sure I could get out in front of all the carnage that was going to happen. I did that, but it cost a lot and I was really just hanging on from there on in. I was annoyed to turn around and see Mads (Pedersen) catch up again.”

Matthew Collinge also put in a dedicated performance around the course to finish in 16th position with a time of 00:14:21 in his international marathon debut as well as still sitting within the Under 23 age category.

Long Course Racing

The long course racing kicked off bright and early on Friday morning with the Junior Girls K1 event. Yet again, Greta Roeser (Wey Kayak Club) and Sienna Payne (Chelmsford Canoe Club) lined up to represent Great Britain.

A brilliant start for Greta saw her establish herself on the side wash of the leader. In the opening laps of the race she settled into the lead group of four boats, alongside two Hungarians and a Spaniard. The group put in a strong effort to create a massive gap between them and the chasing pack. After the first portage, Greta and the two Hungarians broke away from the Spanish boat, confirming themselves as the top three boats of the race. It was lap four that saw Greta and the Hungarian boat of Szerafin go clear. They completed the remaining laps as a duo until the final small lap when Roeser dropped back and confirmed her second place finish. A fantastic second race for the Wey Paddler that saw her become a double European Championship medallist, bettering her two bronze medals from last years championship in Denmark. She crossed the line completing the course with a time of 1:32:49.

Speaking after her silver medal win, she said, “It feels great, I’m very pleased and pleasantly surprised again. I was up against some quick girls out there. I knew it was going to be quick off the start and it quickly broke away into different groups after the first turn, which was nice. I was just trying to maintain speed and try to expect what move was going to come next. I knew there was a chance I could be in contention for the top group. The plan was to get into one of the front four positions of the diamond and then I was just going with the flow.”

Unfortunately for Sienna, a bustling start to the junior race ended in a capsize within the first 200 metres. She showed perseverance and continued on for a few laps before retiring from the race in order to rest up for her K2 race the next day.

The afternoon saw temperatures well over 30 degrees for the Under 23 K1 Long Course races. These temperatures had major impacts on the performances of many athletes within the two races.

Samantha Martyn (Wey Kayak Club) secured a top ten finish at her debut at a European Championship. She had a strong start, after successfully avoiding a collision that occurred within the group off the start line. It was a rocky race and a collision for Martyn later in lap one caused her to drop back. Martyn exhibited brilliant perseverance as she advanced around the 22.6 km course solo for the majority of the race. She managed to fend off the group behind her and maintained a strong speed so they couldn’t catch her up. She was the tenth boat across the line and finished with a time of 1:55:00.

The U23 K1 Men’s race rounded off a hot day of racing. Matthew Collinge (Fowey River Canoe Club) and Luke Shaw (Norwich Canoe Club) lined up on a highly competitive start line ready to battle it out over 26.3km. It was a fast paced start to the race and both Brits got off well. As a lead group formed off the line, both Collinge and Shaw were able to establish strong positions within it. Matt claimed the V wash, with Luke taking up the front side wash. Shaw put in a big effort leading the race around a large part of lap two. 

The paced increased coming away from the first portage which caused Collinge to start dropping back from the leaders. His perseverance shone through as he pulled it back and joined team mate Shaw and the Irish boat, Foley, in a chase group. The Brits teamed up to paddle as a duo in lap five of the race before Shaw dropped back and Collinge put in a gruelling effort to complete the remaining distance paddling solo. His efforts were rewarded with a strong top five finish. Collinge was the fifth boat across the line with a time of 1:56:38.

Speaking after his race, Matt said, “I’m feeling really happy because I was only hoping to get a top ten finish. That was my aim and I didn’t really know exactly where I was going to be within the field, so I’m really happy with a top five result. At the start I was reasonably confident because my sprints have been going quite well recently, so I knew I should be able to get up there off the start. The group did like moving around a lot and they did a few annoying burns I didn’t enjoy as much. I just tried to minimise the amount of burns I had to do, so when they all started an ‘up’, I just tried to ride the wash back into the group again to avoid doing burns when necessary. It’s really tough paddling solo, but then again, I grew up training at a small club in Cornwall and when I used to race, there was virtually no one to race against, so I would do it pretty much on my own anyway. I’m quite used to time trialling. It was very hot today. I was just trying to take on as much liquid as possible to help with that. The flow of the course is quite like Nottingham (where Matt currently trains) in terms of tactics, like hugging the bank due to the fast flow. There were a couple of sections with rocks sticking out, and I had a close call at one point in the race. Overall it was challenging, but in a good way.”

After a favourable first half of the race, Shaw found himself in the middle of the field in the closing laps as the weather conditions caught up. He continued to endure on to complete the race in eighth position with a time of 1:59:37.

Saturday saw the longest days of competition for our British team with racing starting early in the morning and the last finish not finishing until the evening. Our team staff were certainly kept busy!

It was an early start for the Junior Men in the morning for their K1 long course race. Silver medalist Harry Freeland (Reading Canoe Club) and Arthur Morley (Wey Kayak Club) were back in action over the 22.6 km distance. 

Both Brits got off to a flying start. As a large lead group formed off the line, they both established good positions. Freeland put in an effort during lap one to lead the race. However, the Brits dropped back to the chasing pack coming into the first portage. Morley displayed great determination as he powered around the course. He matched his short course result from Thursday, crossing the finish line in ninth with a time of 1:44:42.

An impressive top ten finish from the Wey paddler at his first major international championships. Speaking after his race, Morley said, “I’m happy with how long I managed to stay with the first group. I’d like to have stayed with them after the first portage but it was a big group and struggled to make my way into that front four. The pace was a lot slower today, it was nice to use washes and because it was bigger laps, we didn’t have the portages splitting us up quite as soon.”

Freeland had a tough second half of his race, with temperatures already hitting 30 degrees early this morning. He persevered around the course and finished in 17th with a time of 1:47:55.

The next race on the course saw Greta Roeser (Wey Kayak Club) and Sienna Payne (Chelmsford Canoe Club) team up for the junior Women’s K2 long course, joined by fellow brits Matilda Enoch (Nottingham Kayak Club) and Isla Bethune (Elmbridge Canoe Club).

A swift start for the Enoch and Bethune saw them secure a position in the lead group of four boats in the opening lap. Payne and Roeser settled into the chase pack off the line. The two Hungarian crews broke away in lap two, forcing the Nottingham and Elmbridge team to keep the pace high as they chased them down. 

Roeser and Payne proved their running skill in the first portage, overtaking every other crew boat. They were the third boat back in the water behind the two Hungarian, with Enoch and Bethune were right behind them going into lap three.

The Chelmsford and Wey team put in a huge effort to chase down the second place boat and put themselves in contention for silver in lap four. They crossed the line seventeen seconds ahead of the third place boat after storming ahead of them on the last portage. They completed the course in a time of 1:27:28.

Greta adds another silver to her K1 gold and silver medals and Sienna adds to her K1 bronze. A fantastic display of talent from the junior girls. This was the first time Greta and Sienna had raced together in a crew boat, making the silver medal that much more impressive.

Speaking after claiming her second silver medal of the championships Greta said: “It feels really great. I’m so pleased. We had 20 minutes of practice yesterday and the first half of the race was more or less getting used to the boat, but I think we did really well.”

Sienna continued, “This was the first time we’ve been in a crew boat together. I thought we were great, I loved every second of it. I’m so pleased. It has been a bit of a roller coaster of a trip for me. Lots of ups and downs. It’s been good to learn how to deal with both good results and bad results this weekend.”

Isla Bethune (Elmbridge Canoe Club) and Matilda Enoch (Nottingham Kayak Club) finished in sixth position in a time of 01:30:53, after a tight battle to the finish line.

It was then time for Fay Lamph (Wey Kayak Club) to line up for her second race of the championship. After her seventh in the short course, she improved her result by two places over the longer distance with a top five finish. She established herself in the lead group off the start and battled to maintain her position around the first two laps, only dropping off around the first portage.

In her final long lap, she put in a strong effort to close the gap to the chase group, consisting of the silver and bronze medal positions, by herself. She came heartbreakingly close as the group picked up the pace and moved away from her again.

A fantastic fifth from Fay rounded off her racing at the European championships. She completed the 26.2 km course with a time of 2:09:29.

Speaking after her race, Lamph said, “I enjoyed the race, it was very tough for the first few laps and I really struggled to come of the fifth was, luckily I’m used to this from the Wey club training sessions. It’s really great to be racing on a proper river rather than a lake, it’s a very technical course which has made it interesting. I have been guzzling a lot of water and electrolytes and I really began to struggle as I ran out of drink with 5k to go. It was really tough.”

James Russell (Chelmsford Canoe Club) was last on the water in the K1 Men’s long course race. With the sun blazing and temperatures still above 30 degrees at 17:15 local time in Croatia, it was a tough race for the athletes competing. 

Russell had a brilliant start and as a group formed off the line, he claimed the V wash. Within one lap, the pace was still incredibly hard as Mads Pedersen (Denmark) was determined to stripe the top group away early on. James stayed with the crazy high pace until the group reformed. However, the combination of the heat and pace started to hit around the first portage, when he started to drop back. Russell retired from the race on lap five due to the extreme heat at the course.

The final day of competition saw only Joe Enoch & Huw Singleton (Nottingham Kayak Club) race in the Junior Boys K2. Temperatures were already reaching highs of 26 degrees at 8:45am local time, as the boys lined up ready to battle in out on the 22.6km course. They got off to a flying start and formed a large leading group with eight other crew boats, finding good positions on the wash.

The Nottingham crew had a strong first lap, keeping pace with the leading group. However, it started to become clear that something wasn’t right when the crew began to drop to the back of the field in lap three. After putting in a commendable performance, the duo unfortunately had to retire from the race in lap three due to sickness. Gutting for the boys who had put themselves in great positions at the start of the event.

Speaking to the Team Leader, Katie Williams, about the teams success and challenges over the past four days of racing in Slavonski Brod, she said, “It’s been a very busy and full on weekend of racing for the whole squad, especially those who have come straight from sprint worlds. The course is a very technical course on a river, and it has been very interesting to watch. Overall the team has done fantastically but obviously the heat has really affected quite a few competitors. It’s been about 30 degrees for most races and some raced even at 35 degrees. It’s been lovely to see Matt, Sienna and Arthur at their first major championships doing so well and to see Fay back racing after 5 years away from internationals. We’ve been really lucky to have so many supporters come out to watch too which has really helped the team. It’s been a learning curve for some about how to manage paddling in bigger groups at times and the importance of getting nutrition and hydration right. I’m sure everyone’s looking forward to getting back home to train for World Champs selection in slightly cooler weather.”

It was a tough championship for our British team with the conditions but lots of lessons learned for all and a clear eagerness to build on the performances for their next races. Well done to the whole team.

We also would like to thank the team of staff who volunteered their time to ensure that the athletes were well looked after during their time away and were able to focus on their racing. Thank you to Katie, Peter Gorman, Bryn Price and Iain Bainbridge.

Our attentions now turn to the World Championships at the end of August and we wish the team selected all the best of luck. We look forward to cheering you on as you race in Denmark.

French Nationals Championships 2023 Selection Announcement

Following the Marathon National Championships in Norwich on the 22/23 July, the MRC Selection Committee has chosen a team to represent British Canoeing at the French National Championships.

Congratulations to all.

European Championships 2023 – How to follow along

The 2023 European Championships team have successfully arrived in Croatia to compete this week. Racing will take place over four days starting on Thursday 13th July and finishing on Sunday 16th July.

Start lists and live results for all events can be found here. Any live updates from our British team will be shared via our social media platforms.

All racing will be live streamed via the Canoe Europe Youtube Channel.

Thursday 13th July Schedule

09:35 BSTK1 Junior Men Short Course Heat 1Harry Freeland (Reading)
10:00 BSTK1 Junior Men Short Course Heat 2Arthur Morley (Wey)
10:25 BSTK1 Senior Men Short Course Heat 1Matthew Collinge (Fowey)
10:50 BSTK1 Senior Men Short Course Heat 2James Russell (Chelmsford)
11:15 BSTK1 Junior Women Short Course FinalGreta Roeser (Wey)
Sienna Payne (Chelmsford)
14:30 BSTK1 Junior Men Short Course Final
16:00 BSTK1 Senior Women Short Course FinalFay Lamph (Wey)
16:30 BSTK1 Senior Men Short Course Final

Friday 14th July Schedule

07:50 BSTK1 Junior WomenGreta Roeser (Wey)
Sienna Payne (Chelmsford)
14:15 BSTK1 Under 23 WomenSamantha Martyn (Wey)
16:25 BSTK1 Under 23 MenLuke Shaw (Norwich)
Matthew Collinge (Fowey)

Saturday 15th July Schedule

07:15 BSTK1 Junior MenHarry Freeland (Reading)
Arthur Morley (Wey)
09:35 BSTK2 Junior WomenGreta Roeser (Wey) & Sienna Payne (Chelmsford)
Matilda Enoch (Nottingham) & Isla Bethune (Elmbridge)
13:45 BSTK1 Senior WomenFay Lamph (Wey)
16:15 BSTK1 Senior MenJames Russell (Chelmsford)

Sunday 16th July Schedule

07:45 BSTK2 Junior MenJoe Enoch (Nottingham) & Huw Singleton (Nottingham)

Sanabria K4 2023 Race Report

Sanabria K4 is an annual senior athlete development international trip where athletes compete in two K4 races in Spain against many international level crews. This years racing took place on Saturday 1st July and Sunday 2nd July. Below is a write-up of the trip including results.

This year Great Britain were looking to build upon previous years successes and the team brought both experience and youth to the weekend of racing in Spain. Ross McMullen (Elmbridge), Matt Enoch (Nottingham), George Durden (Elmbridge), Keith Moule (Chelmsford) and Elise Montagna (Royal), Becky Pemble (Addlestone), Maia Wallace–Loizou (Richmond), Becky Solway (Elmbridge) formed the line ups in the two GB boats.

British Airway flights leaving Heathrow made the perfect start, spirits were high and some great racing to look forward to. However, the team encountered it’s first challenge when at Madrid Airport all but one bag arrived. Then came the next challenge, the travel arrangements, saw all teams (Polish, Hungary, Ukraine, German and Czechia) on a coach trip reaching the hotel at 3am on the morning of the race.

This year the races were rearranged with Sanabria on the Saturday with Valladolid on the Sunday but with the same courses. Sanabria, as spectacular as ever, was the showdown for some great racing. However, another challenge, the GB men’s boat was damaged in transit so a frantic chase around to secure one of the club boats. Fortunately with 60 or 70 K4’s there racing in the domestic events, a quality boat was secured. Both the women’s and men’s crews put in great performances, each facing their respective battles around the lake to get 4th place with Spain dominating both events. Great Britain secured 3rd place overall, a good start to the campaign.

Thankfully on Sunday a relatively short 2 hour journey to Valladolid and the same international crews lined up to carry on the battle from yesterday, this time however we knew with Matt’s experience of working to the “Norm Plan” and as George said “we are used to spinning around tight turns at Hasler Races”, the much narrower course suited the GB team. Of special note was the Men’s great teamwork on the turns and big acceleration out of them, putting them 2nd to the Spanish until 400m from the finish, where Hungary and Czechia just out powered them, pushing them into 4th place. For the women’s team, Becky S was keen to push on and improve on the 4th place on the Saturday and drove a quality race again picking up distance on the turn but despite a committed effort from all 4 women, managed 5th place. Again all 8 athletes contributed 100%, helping push Great Britain into overall 3rd place behind Spain and Czechia, but encouragingly above Hungary and Germany in the overall results. The Marathon Racing Committee, it seems, is helping to lead the way to challenge the status quo of the usual dominant teams. 

As has become the norm, the hospitality of the Spanish Federation was excellent and an example to all nations of how to promote crew boat racing by keeping the ethos of high-level competition in an enjoyable environment. It was evident to all the GB paddlers when 100 plus Spanish K4’s are racing each day. from under 16’s to veterans, there’s every reason to suspect another Merchant, Alonso or Waltz is being developed.

A huge amount of thanks to the Women’s Team (Becky, Elise, Becky, Maia) and the Men’s Team (Matt, Ross, Keith and George) who all conducted themselves in a manner befitting of a quality international team, on and off the water.

Thank to Team Manager, Paul Dimmock, for writing this race report on the weekends events and for running such a slick operation while the team was away.

Para Worlds Demo Event, World Championships and French Nationals 2023 Selection Details

The final assessments of 2023 will be held at the National Championships at Norwich Canoe Club on the 23/24th July. This event forms one of the lead assessments for the World Championships and will serve as the only assessment for the French Nationals U16/U14 trip and the Para Demonstration Event at the World Championships.

Please find details of the National Championships here:

Entries can be completed here: 2023 National Championships Entries

To be considered for selection you must fill in the correct availability form for the team you are seeking selection for:

The deadline for submission of your availability forms is midnight 18th July

More specifics on the Para selection can be found below. For the World and French Nationals, please take the time to familiarise yourselves with the Selection Policy found here.

If you have any questions about the availability forms or admin, please contact the Selection Committee Secretary Kat Wilson. For questions relating to the selection process, please contact the Chair of Selectors Nanette North.

Para Demonstration Event at the World Championships 2023

The Para Worlds Events:

The ICF have announced they will be holding a Paracanoe Demonstration event which is being held in conjunction with the World Marathon Championships in Denmark. 

The program has the following Mens and Women’s classes:

  • KL1 (6.8km)
  • KL2 (10.2km)
  • KL3 (10.2km)
  • VL1 (6.8km)
  • VL2 (10.2km)
  • VL3 (10.2km)
  • Open event  (10.2k) for all IPC defined impairment categories which are not included in the IPC approved impairment categories for Paracanoe. 

Competitors are required to use kayaks and Va’a boats which meet the ICF Paracanoe technical standards for all demonstration events, including the open event. Athlete Classification will be available at the event as required.

Selection Process:

The MRC has received funding from British Canoeing to allow us to send up to 3 athletes* to this event.

Selection details for the event are as follows:

  • Selection will take place at the National Marathon Championships on the 23rd July.
  • Entries can be complete here: 2023 National Championships Entries
  • Athletes are required to use kayaks and Va’a boats which meet ICF paracanoe technical standards in the selection event**.
  • Please enter the class you wish to be selected for. Starts may be combined as per the discretion of Norwich Canoe Club.
  • Selection will be made by benchmarking results across classes as per the World Championships selection process laid out in section 3.1 of the Selection Policy found here
  • Availability forms must be fully completed by midnight 18th July
  • The availability form can be found here: Para World Demonstration Event Availability Form

If you have any questions about the availability forms or admin, please contact the Selection Committee Secretary Kat Wilson. For questions relating to the selection process please contact the Chair of Selectors Nanette North.

* team size may change and will be dependent on funding available and logistical considerations including availability of accommodation.

** unless otherwise agreed in writing from the Chair of the Selection Committee.

World Cup 2023 Race Report

Over two weeks have passed since our 2023 World Cup team competed in Ruse, Bulgaria. The event concluded with one medal and multiple top ten places from our senior development team.

After a long coach journey into Bulgaria on Thursday afternoon, the team were able to check out the course and portage on Friday. The organisation had done a great job with the venue set-up and even the army had been drafted in to construct the 200+ metre portage using transportable army bridges to form the pontoons. The weather was hot but cooled enough in the evening to enjoy some dancing and music at the open ceremony.

On Saturday 3rd June, the team competed over the short course distance, with the senior women taking to the water first. An exceptional start from Becky Solway (Elmbridge) saw her in a comfortable position for the first few hundred metres, while the rest of the women had to work hard to make the first turn from their left-side-of-the-pontoon start. As the field started to split apart, Melissa Johnson (Chelmsford) was using the washes to move her way closer to the lead group coming into the first portage. A strong run put her within medal contention with four other boats. Becky found herself back in a chasing group with Samantha Martyn (Wey). Katie Brookes (Exeter) and Lucy Guest (Nottingham) found themselves a little further back after Lucy had an incident with a turn buoy. The second portage resulted in Melissa putting in competing for either silver or bronze with a Danish boat. The final sprint was tight and she crossed the line earning bronze, her first international medal.

When reflecting on her performance, Melissa said, “It was a really good race. It was quite interesting off the start, and I was just trying to climb my way through the group. I managed to run through quite a few other athletes [at the portage], and once I got back in I just kept climbing through and managed to get [my first] bronze [medal].”

Samanatha Martyn finished in eighth with Becky Solway just behind in ninth. Katie Brookes and Lucy Guest finished in 12th and 13th respectively.

Quickly after the senior women came across the line, the senior men’s short course race started. A strong start from Ross McMullen (Elmbridge) allowed him to make it into the front group and fighting for washes. A tough start on the left-side-of-the-pontoon saw Alex McIntrye (Chelmsford), Finn Cadell (Nottingham) and Joe Petersen (Banbury) form the chasing group, working to close on the lead group. George Durden (Elmbridge) suffered off the start and found himself trying to claw back to a group. The first portage was tough and Ross found himself back with the chasing group and the three other Brits. Working hard together saw some tight finishes after the second portage. Finn came out top, securing sixth position overall, closely followed by Joe in seventh.

After his race, Finn said, “It was really good fun… this was only the second marathon short course race I’ve ever done. It was a very long portage, but I think that played into my strengths… overall it was a good race and a good day.”

Alex finished in tenth, Ross in twelfth and George in 16th.

Sunday saw the turn of the long course racing. Our Senior Women had an earlier start but a shorter than normal course of 22km and much cooler temperatures than earlier in the week. All five Brits had a strong start, enabling them to make the front group, with Samantha Martyn (Wey) finding herself in the lead v-wash for the first lap. Unfortunately a tight second turn saw Melissa Johnson (Chelmsford) squeezed the wrong side of a buoy, earning a 15-second penalty that she had to take at the first portage. This incident also caused the front group to split up with a chasing group of Lucy Guest (Nottingham), Becky Solway (Elmbridge), Melissa Johnson (Chelmsford) and Katie Brookes (Exeter) forming. However, a small incident with a confused fisherman saw Katie catch and then tow a fishing line into the first portage. Quick action from team staff member, Oli Rix, saw it removed, but the damage on Katie’s involvement in the chase group had been done.

The front group had started to break up further and Samantha Martyn found herself chasing with Czech paddler Katie Milova the lead boats and medals. They continued to close the gap and Samantha found herself finishing in fourth position, only seven seconds behind bronze medal position. She was controlled right up to the finish, even being considered in her sprint finish and when to action it. She was also surrounded by paddlers who secured a top five position in last year’s under 23 women’s world championships.

After her race, Samantha said, “The start wasn’t quite as fast as I’d hoped for but I got some good washes and had a few lucky moves which helped me secure a safe spot…Catching people later in the race is something I know I can do so I felt confident on the later laps [but] I wasn’t sure on that last lap what was going to happen so I was little nervous coming into it, but I’m really happy with ending up in fourth place.”

Melissa finished in eighth, Becky in ninth and Lucy in eleventh.

Our Senior Men raced over a 25km course in the early afternoon. Yet another strong start from Ross McMullen (Elmbridge) saw him find a position within the lead group, alongside Alex McIntrye (Chelmsford). The first lap is always a quick one and staying on the washes and keeping safe is always the main aim. McIntrye did this well all the way into the first portage. Ross found himself dropping back into the chase group containing Finn Cadell (Nottingham) and Joe Petersen (Banbury. They worked hard to try to keep the gap between them and the lead group level, and even try to close it. George Durden (Elmbridge) found himself working hard just behind the chase group with a Ukrainian paddler.

The pace of the first portage was high and Alex found himself not able to latch onto a wash afterwards to stay there. He wasn’t the only one though and a group of five boats formed, including Ross who had completed an exceptionally fast portage to jump a group. As they came into the last portage, Alex was in a strong place to try and secure a top five position. A tight and powerful sprint finish from a Belgian paddler saw Alex finish in sixth. Ross finished in ninth, Joe in twelfth, Finn in 15th and George in 16th.

After his race, Alex said, “Very happy with my performance, I did what I could to get in the front group. After my performance yesterday, I decided I needed to commit more to the first lap or two, so I went all in and it paid off… I got a good portage on the last lap and I managed to split away with the Belgian paddler and we had a good sprint finish into the end. My overall takeaway from the weekend is that I need to get faster. I want to get better at moving around a group in terms of pace, but overall I am happy with my performance.”

A successful weekend saw one medal and ten top ten places secured. David Sackman, the team manager, reflected on the weekends results and said, “Really pleased. Some great results and performances [over the weekend]. A pleasure to manage such a lovely team. And of course having good staff team makes things run so smoothly.”

Well done to all the athletes and thank you to our amazing volunteer team of staff that helped make the trip happened.

The next international event is the European Championships, taking place between Thursday 13th July to Sunday 16th July. We look forward to seeing how the international team gets on.