Canoeing South Africa
8 Sept 2016
Written by: Kyle Gilham
Ward & Purchase aim to be SA’s next canoeing golden girls
Durban – As Jenna Ward and Kyeta Purchase pack their bags for the trip to
Brandenburg, Germany this weekend, their sole aim is to bring home medals
from the 2016 ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships which takes place from
The Durban based pair have every intention of racing onto the podium next
weekend, if not in fact winning their respective Under-23 Women’s and Junior
Women’s K1 clashes outright.
“No one goes to a World Championships not wanting to win!” confirms Euro
Steel’s Ward. “I definitely want to do better than the two U23 bronzes I’ve
won at the past two Worlds, but the main aim is most definitely gold!”
“Kyeta is also so incredibly talented and having gone to worlds for the
first time last year and finished fourth without any experience – I just
can’t see any other junior girl in the world being faster than her!” she
Both Ward and Purchase – together with Team SA K1 Senior Woman competitor,
Nicole Russell – are members of respected coach and legendary Masters
marathon competitor Lee McGregor’s MACSquad which trains at Blue Lagoon and
believe their build-up has been perfect.
“Training has gone extremely well for us and it has been amazing having such
a great group of girls on the water every single day, pushing each other as
hard as we possibly can while still knowing we’ll all be racing in different
age groups at Worlds” explains Ward.
“Having Hank (McGregor) and Lee on the water every evening has also been
great because they just set the standard for everyone else!”
Ward draws added comfort from Germany and South Africa sharing the same time
zone as well as the double U23 bronze medalist having experienced the
Brandenburg course once previously.
“Not having to deal with much East-West travel is a real bonus for us plus
we’re heading to Germany nice and early this year so even if we are a little
tired from the travels, we’ve got plenty of time to recover fully before
“I raced in a sprint event as a junior five years ago so I have a vague
memory of the course.
“It is quite an open course so its quite susceptible to the wind but with my
surfski background, I’m quite used to racing in waves.”
While their respective K1 events remain their top priority, Ward and
Purchase’s combination in the Senior Women’s K2 clash is another element of
the trip the pair are looking forward to.
“We’re definitely focusing on our K1 races first and foremost, “says Ward.
“What is nice as far as our K2 race goes though is that both Kyeta’s and my
K1 race is on the Friday, giving us all of Saturday to recover before we
race K2 together on Sunday.”
“We’ve spent a lot of time together in a K2 over the past 18 months or so
and really combine well together in the boat.
“We got a fifth in the same race last year in Hungary so it would be great
to better that this time around and if all can go well for us on the day
then perhaps we could even podium.”
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Having already won bronze in
USA and Hungary in 2014 and 2015 respectively, South Africa's Jenna Ward
hopes to finish on the top step of the podium in the K1 Under-23 Women's
clash at the 2016 ICF Canoe Marathon World Championship in Brandenburg, Germany.
Emerging star Kyeta Purchase
goes into this year's ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships in
Brandenburg, Germany as a strong contender to clinch gold in the K1 Junior
Women's event having finished fourth in the same race last year in Hungary
- her maiden Worlds appearance.
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