Pietermaritzburg is set to stage the ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships ©ICF

Hungary will seek to continue their dominance when the International Canoe Federation (ICF) Canoe Marathon World Championships begin in Pietermaritzburg tomorrow.

The European nation have been the clear power over long-distance events, since the first edition of the ICF event was held back in 1988.

Hungary have earned 131 medals since, with Spain lying in second place in the all-time standings with a total of 86.

Reigning men’s C1 world champion Márton Kövér will be among the Hungarian team’s major medal hopes at the Championships.

He will also seek to retained the C2 title, along with his compatriot Ádám Dóczé.

Home success could depend on the fortunes of Hank McGregor, with the South African having triumphed in the men’s K1 competition in the last four editions.

McGregor also won last year’s K2 event with Jasper Mocke.

The kayaker has been assisting organisers with their preparations, as he helped find underwater objects that several paddlers had touched during the national championships at the venue Drift Camp.

Organisers believe they are fully prepared, with the Championships being held shortly after the conclusion of the masters' version of the event.

South Africa are hosting the Championships for the second time ©ICF
South Africa are hosting the Championships for the second time ©ICF

“We are going flat out, and everything is going in on time,” said Steve Both, race organising committee head.

“The road into the venue has been upgraded and the big screen was put up, which adds to the vibe.

“The grandstands are all in place and have been painted, all the fencing and gates are in, so we are ready.”

Junior competition will begin tomorrow and conclude on September 8, with senior action set to provide the focus on the weekend.

The C1 and K1 races for both men and women will take place on Saturday (September 9), with the C2 and K2 races being held the following day.

It is the second time the Championships have been staged in Africa, with Cape Town having held the event in 1998.