Birkett does the World Cup double in China

Current ICF Canoe Marathon silver medal holder Andy Birkett took home gold in both the short and long course marathon races at the ICF Canoe Marathon World Cup in Shaoxing, China over the past few days.

The more prestigious long-course event took place on Monday (Chinese time) and it was an exciting race with regular visitor to South Africa Adrian Boros providing a significant threat to Birkett – Boros finished third at the World Championships behind Birkett and Hank McGregor in September.

It was a four-way fight for the title with Euro Steel’s Birkett, Hungarian Boros, Filipo Vincenzi of Italy and Quentin Urban from France battling it out after they had opened a gap on the rest of the field.

As Birkett had done in Pietermaritzburg just over a month ago, he outsprinted Boros and the other two to take the win with the Hungarian claiming silver and Vincenzi taking home the bronze.

The short course, which is 3.6km in length, saw a significant challenge from Urban and Boros for the title, but Birkett prevailed to claim the victory by just over a second.

Interestingly, Bridgitte Hartley’s Fish River Canoe Marathon partner, Kristina Bedec from Serbia took home the women’s short course honours while it was Jenna Ward’s Fish partner Anna Kožíšková who was the strongest in the women’s long course race with World Championship bronze medallist Jenny Egan in second and the UK’s Lizzie Broughton in third.