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Singapore to host World's Best Canoe Marathon athletes

Singapore will be the first Asian country to host world elite marathon canoeists during the ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships (Photo: Singapore Canoe Federation)
 
Sporting fans in Singapore have had plenty to cheer about over the years. The Sporting Singapore calendar has continued to reinvent itself with a host of inaugural events each year.  Just recently in July, the Canon Lion City Cup and the Mission Foods World Netball Championships took Singapore by storm.

From 19 - 23 October, the city-state will welcome to her shores the 2011 International Canoe Federation’s (ICF) Canoe Marathon World Championships- becoming the first Asian country to host this event. Into its 19th edition, the annual championship event is set to take place against the backdrop of Singapore’s breathtaking landscape along Marina Bay.

This year’s championships will begin with the Canoe Marathon Master World Cup, from 19th -20th, and the Asian Canoe Marathon Championships (ACMC), which will be incorporated into the World Championships, from the 21-23 October.

The ACMC has been well received by the Asian nations and Singapore Canoe Federation (SCF), who has set a medal target for the Asian event.

The championships will see paddlers competing in six different race categories of distances from 17 km to 30 km. With races lasting approximately two to three hours, paddlers will have to navigate the water currents, starting from Marina Reservoir towards the Benjamin Sheares Bridge.

“We will strive to give our best and to fight at every stage of the canoe marathon to keep up with the pack, and to do the portage like a amphibious superwomen!” said Ms Yeung Xintian, Singapore Athlete who will be taking part in the K2 Women Senior Category.

As one of the main highlight of the canoe marathon race, the portage will require athletes to get out of the water, carry their boat and paddle, run across designated lane on the football pitch, before getting back in the water and paddling off to begin the next lap.

From the 40 participating countries this year, heavyweights South Africa, Hungary, Spain, Germany, Great Britain and France will provide our 28 Singaporean athletes with their toughest challenge. The athletes for the Juniors category are from the National Squad, along with additions from secondary schools to tertiary institutions. Some of them also form the Senior and Under 23 team, while the Masters category comprise working adults who are passionate about Canoeing.
“This competition will provide all our athletes with a good opportunity to play against the best of the world!” said National Coach Balazs Babella.

Through the success of the Canoe Marathon World Championships, Mr. Chua Kee Huat, President of Singapore Canoe Federation, is hoping that the sport will continue to expand its reach in Singapore. Thanks to Singapore’s growing appetite for sport, Canoeing joins a long list of emerging sports like Mixed Martial Arts and Sport Climbing, that continues to stimulate the interest of the community.

“Overall, close to 10,000 people learn to canoe each year, and about 1,200 people canoe on a regularly basis (at least once weekly). There are about 1000 active participants who take part in Canoe in secondary schools and tertiary institutions.”
“The long-term prospects look good, as Canoeing is an Olympic Sport, and is gaining recognition in Singapore but through the support of our partners like Singapore Airlines, Nestlé Singapore, PUB and events like the ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships, we hope that the sport will continue to build on the momentum and grow further,” adds Mr. Joseph Ang, General Manager of the Singapore Canoe Federation and the Chairman of the Organising Committee for the 2011 ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships.