Junior Worlds Experience July 2023 - written by Nikita Ciudin

On July 6-9, I competed at the ICF Junior and U23 World Championships. It happened in Auronzo, Italy, a mountainous and beautiful location. This was the first competition that was held at this place.

During the race you would get slightly distracted by the monstrous mountains, at least I did. In Italy I raced two events the C1-1000m event and the IC4-500m event. The C1-1000m event is the Olympic distance for men and this is the race I did the best in. The IC4-500m was a exhilarating race, I raced it with Jack Chambers (Mississauga Canoe Club), Etienne Gamache (Otterburn Canoe Club), and Stuart Bradley (Rideau Canoe Club). We placed 13th overall through placement, but it was still a great experience to get out and race for Canada in a IC4.
My C1-1000m was as phenomenal race, never expected the result I got. I was lane 3, to my left a Hungarian who placed 3rd. On my right I had a guy from Spain. The Spanish guy had a quick start but I managed to out pace him. By the 500m, my eyes were on the Hungarian to stay with him. But I hit a wall by the 200m mark and got caught in his wash but I pushed on, like I’ve practised for years. At this point I was in 7th, battling it out with an Argentinian and a Moldovan that had fallen back. I kept pushing and pushing through the wash. I look to my right and see that France has passed me. Fourth place was lost but there was still fifth. I hit the 50m mark and gave it my all on the last couple of strokes. I hit the line and give a big shoot. I look up and see the Italian, Hungarian, German, and France men. Then me in 5th. I went to the side lines and saw my friends on the sidelines congratulating me. They had confirmed that I had gotten a fifth place. Fifth place! I had just gotten 5th in the world! Words can’t explain how happy and excited I was. My Team Canada coach, Fred Loyer, tells me to go for a cool down. I go and come back and get more hugs and more congrats. I was ecstatic.
The excitement stayed with me for the next while and still to this day.