Australia’s Cory Hill successfully defended his open title as action continued today at the International Canoe Federation Ocean Racing World Championships in Hong Kong.
Hill held off a late challenge from South Africa’s Hank McGregor, the canoe marathon world champion, to triumph in 1 hour 31min 55sec at Clearwater Bay.
McGregor finished second in 1:32:20, while compatriot Jasper Moche rounded out the podium in 1:32:53.
Despite being crowned world champion in 2015, Hill had never managed a win in Hong Kong in several attempts.
"To be honest, I didn’t see anyone for the whole race, until we got around Kissing Whales," he said.
"Then I knew Jasper and Hank were right there.
"I saw two black boats in fact, and there were a lot of black boats out there so I got confused with who it was.
"I had nightmares that Hank, we’ve had pretty big duels coming in from Kissing Whales for four or five years, and he’s got me every single one, so I had this nightmare in my head.
"It’s just awesome to finally get it, to finally have a win in Hong Kong and to retain that World Championship.
"It’s pretty unreal, to be honest.
"A bit overwhelming."
McGregor said he thought he had a chance to overhaul Hill when they turned for the final run to the finish.
But he ultimately found him too hard to catch.
"It’s never over until it’s over, but he deserves it," McGregor said.
"We’ve had a ding-dong battle for the last couple of races, so today it was reversed.
"He’s a champion, he deserves it.
"We’ll see what happens next weekend when we race again."
Also tasting victory today were South Africa’s Kenny Rice and Australia’s Oscar Jones in the respective under-23 and under-18 events.
Rice prevailed in 1:33:53 with Australia’s Mackenzie Hynard second in 1:35:39 and France’s Valentin Henot third in 1:37:54.
Jones, meanwhile, clocked a winning time of 1:38:22 as France’s Hector Henot took the silver medal in 1:40:33.
Australia’s Noah Havard claimed the bronze in 1:41:12.