Baku, June 13, AZERTAC
Canoe Sprint competition in Mingachevir stars Olympic and world champions.
In the history of Canoe Sprint, 87 per cent of all Olympic medals have been won by athletes from European countries, so competition will be fierce when the Baku 2015 European Games action begins in Mingachevir on Sunday 14 June.
One of the biggest stars taking to the waters of the Kur Sport and Rowing Centre will be German canoeist Sebastian Brendel. The 27-year-old enters the men's Canoe Single (C1) 1000m as the reigning European, world and Olympic champion, and is not short on confidence.
"I would say I'm one of the favourites," said Brendel, "but Attila Vajda will be very strong and Martin Fuksa from the Czech Republic too."
Brendel expects a strong overall performance from the German team, which includes London 2012 gold medallists in the women's Kayak Double (K2) 500m, Franziska Weber and Tina Dietze, as well as the reigning Olympic champion in the men's Canoe Double (C2) 1000m, Peter Kretschmer.
And Brendel thinks Germany could have the competitive edge at Baku 2015 over the sport's traditional powerhouse, Hungary.
"I think we are the two strongest teams of the last ten years," Brendel said. "They (Hungary) have a strong C1 and C2 but we have a very strong team."
The star of the Hungarian team is Danuta Kozak, the reigning Olympic Champion in the women's Kayak Single (K1) 500m and the Kayak Four (K4) 500m, and the winner of ten world championship gold medals.
The standout event of day one is the men's K1 1000m, which throws together some of the most successful athletes in Canoe Sprint: Germany's three-time world champion Max Hoff, Baku 2015 ambassador and 2013 European champion Rene Holten Poulsen of Denmark and the Czech Republic's reigning world champion, Josef Dostal.