World Game competitors call Cullman home, briefly

Members and coaches of the Hungarian canoe team: Levente Gannoruwa, Bálint Noé, Zsóka Csikós, Vanda Kiszli and Viktor Kadler (Amy Leonard for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – The Hungarian kayakers, who will compete next week in the World Games, were in Cullman for several days before their canoe marathon competitions at Oak Mountain State Park in Shelby County.

Until their move to Birmingham, the athletes unpacked their bags at Stone Bridge Farms and traveled to Duck River for a training session on Thursday.

Not out of phase with the heatwave that engulfed the state, canoeists eagerly unloaded their kayaks onto the reservoir and quickly paddled down the river to acclimatize to their new surroundings.

Canoeists travel to Duck River to prepare for the World Games (Amy Leonard for The Cullman Tribune)

Bálint Noé is ready to compete in the men’s short distance and long distance marathon races. In 2021, Noé won gold at the International Canoe Federation (ICF) Sprint Canoe World Championships in the K-1 5000 meters.

Six-time world champion Vanda Kiszli excels in both short and long distance races and will compete with the women and look to win another championship with junior world sprint champion Zsoka Csikos.

“The main rivals of the Hungarian competitors are the Danish, Portuguese, French and British competitors,” reports their translator.

He went on to say, “Alabama is a beautiful place. The people we met were extremely nice and helpful.

International athletes have noted that they are big fans of the Alabama fruit, which they consider “extremely tasty”. Steak and cheesecake were also notable favorites among contestants.

The team was kind enough to thank those who helped them along the way.

“We have to thank the local organizers for allowing us to be here. This allows us to achieve the best possible results in the competition,” the translator said.

The short-distance marathon will take place at Oak Mountain on July 11 with qualifications set for 9 a.m. for women and men and finals at 4 p.m.

The standard distance marathon will take place at Oak Mountain on July 12 starting at 9 a.m.

For tickets or more information on the canoeing event at the World Games, visit

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