ROMPIN, Sept 6 – Pahang Beach will be shocked by five former world champions when the Pahang Ocean Paddle International Challenge (POPIC) 2022 begins at Pantai Hiburan here tomorrow.

The unique race that will be organized for the first time has successfully attracted the attention of canoe champions from South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United States, Iran, Chinese-Taipei, Thailand, Indonesia and among the heavy weight who will test the waves of Pahang are the two-time world champion, Rob Jenkinson and his wife Julie Jenkinson who is a four-time world champion.

The Australian couple will certainly receive a great challenge in the competition for the title of champion as they will be competing with  compatriot MacKenzie Hynard, 28, who is the former runner-up in the under-23 world and Daniele MacKenzie from New Zealand who emerged as the 2019 world champion in France.

Hynard, who nickname as ‘Big Wave Macca’ expects tough competition for all the paddlers tomorrow when he sees the heavyweight that will be competing.

“I am very excited to compete in the race in Malaysia. I will try my best. Most of the races I participated before are one-day races, but the race here will be over five days, so there’s a big difference. I hope my body can survive the challenge here,” he said when met after the athlete introduction ceremony today.

Present at the ceremony was organizing committee chairman, Emir Abdul Jalal.

POPIC 2022 will last for five days or as many as five stages, will end at Teluk Chempedak, Kuantan on September 11.

The 2019 women’s world champion MacKenzie said she did not set big targets for this race but has set her her sight to gain experience competing in a new environment.

“Winning will be great, however the most important thing is to participate and gain the experience of competing in Malaysia.

“We in New Zealand are familiar with the sea. We train three to four hours a day, six days a week. Of course I can’t wait to compete especially after not being able to race due to the Covid 19 pandemic,” she said.

Meanwhile, the four-time (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012) world champion Dawid Mocke from South Africa reminded that this race in Pahang has its own challenges for all paddlers.

He said, in addition to having to face big shot, each participant also faces nature challenges. “It must be remembered that we are not only competing with other paddlers but also competing with the elements of nature. We face the challenge of waves, wind and of course hot weather.

“You also need to be fit and good at organizing strategies to save energy because this race lasts for five days,” he said.