Canoeing South Africa
10 August 2017
Written by: Nick Tatham
Nations best to fight out for Marathon honours
Pietermaritzburg – With the ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships, hosted
by Natal Canoe Club at Camps Drift, just under a month away, the South
African national flatwater marathon championships has plenty at stake as
paddlers eye a sought-after spot on the national team this weekend.
With just two spots up on the national team in each age division in both the
K1 and K2 races, and this year’s world championship on home soil, the cream
of the paddling crop will be in an all-out fight at Camps Drift on Saturday
The programme is going to be a jam packed one with this year’s national
championships comfortably eclipsing the 2015 edition as the biggest with
over 500 paddlers entered in classes from Under 8’s to Great Grand Masters.
All eyes will be on the senior men’s K1 showdown as eight-time World
Champion Hank McGregor goes head-to-head with his 2016 under-study Andy
Birkett. McGregor won gold while Birkett took home the silver in the K1
showdown in Brandenburg last year just showing the strength of marathon
paddling in South Africa.
Despite this two-man showdown being the focal point there will be a few
other paddlers who will be trying to get their noses into the battle. Stuart
Maclaren and former Under 23 silver medallist Brandon van der Walt will be
hoping to upset the status quo and push for one of the two available spots
in the K1 division.
The K2 race will see experienced partners McGregor and Jasper Mocké once
again team up while Birkett’s 2016 World Championships bronze medal winning
partner Louis Hattingh is unable to paddle due to a severe hand injury.
This has meant that Birkett will team up with young Jean van der Westhuyzen
for a shot at the overall men’s title.
Brandon van der Walt and Clinton Cook will prove to be a competitive pair
along with the Western Cape duo of Stuart Maclaren and Kenny Rice. Also on
the start list is the experienced Graeme Solomon, who will be racing the
Czech star Jakub Adam.
There is no separate Under 23 K2 race which means that those paddlers have
to race in the senior men’s K2 showdown which adds to the spectacle with
this year’s K2 race seeing twelve boats fighting it out for two places.
The ladies racing will be just as competitive with a handful of women hoping
to impress at the national showpiece.
In the senior women’s K1 race Pietermaritzburg local and Olympic sprint
bronze medallist Bridgitte Hartley has been preparing hard for this year’s
race and will be a formidable force.
Also in the hunt will be former two-time Under 23 marathon bronze medallist
Jenna Ward as well as the likes of 2016 World Champs squad members Nikki
Russell and Bianca Beavitt.
Michelle Burn and Hayley Nixon will also be on the start line and the
presence of the two surfski stars prove that women’s paddling in South
Africa is currently very competitive.
The younger age categories, Under 23 and juniors, will also prove to be
entertaining spectacles with a number of exciting young paddlers in the mix.
Under 18 star Jean van der Westhuyzen has decided that he will be racing in
the Under-23 age category and with the likes of Tom Lovemore, Mark Keeling,
sprinter Stuart Bristow and 2016 Brandenburg veteran Nick Notten present it
will be an interesting tussle.
In the ladies Under 23 dice the paddler to watch is Kyeta Purchase. Although
this is Purchase’s first year in the Under 23 division she won a bronze in
the Under 18 girls race at the World Championships last year which proves
that she is a fierce competitor.
The junior girls K1 event will be an interesting one, however the race might
be for second behind 2017 FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon runner-up Christie
In the K2 division there has been a shake up with the 2016 silver medal
winning partnership of Jenna Ward and Kyeta Purchase splitting up with the
former teaming up with Nikki Russell and Purchase joining forces with Bianca
The event will also see masters paddlers fighting it out as they prepare for
the ICF Masters World Cup which takes place a few days before the world’s
best do battle at Camps Drift.
South Africa’s masters team has historically dominated at the Masters World
Cup and with the event in South Africa this year more of the same can be
2017 South African Marathon Championships Program of Events
Saturday 12 August - K1 Events
08:00 - Sub Veteran Men
08:02 - Veteran Men
08:04 - Sub Master Men
08:06 - Master Men
08:08 - Sub Grandmaster Men
08:10 - Grandmaster Men
08:12 - All Master Women 35-64 Years
08:14 - Sub Great Grandmaster Men
08:16 - Great Grandmaster Men
08:18 - C1 Masters
10:15 - Guppy Under 12 Boys
10:17 - Guppy Under 12 Girls
10:19 - Guppy Under 10 Boys
10:21 - Guppy Under 10 Girls
10:23 - Guppy Under 8 Boys
10:25 - Guppy Under 8 Girls
11:00 - Masters K1 and Guppy Medal Ceremony
11:30 - Junior Boys (U18/U16)
11:32 - Junior Girls (U18/U16)
11:34 - Junior Boys Under 14
11:36 - Junior Girls Under 14
11:42 - Para-Paddling
14:00 - Senior Men
14:02 - Under 23 Men
14:04 - Senior Women
14:06 - Under 23 Women
14:08 - C1 Men
17:15 - Senior & Under 23 + Junior K1 Medal Ceremony
Sunday 13 August - K2 Events
08:30 - Sub Veteran Men
08:32 - Veteran Men
08:34 - Sub Master Men
08:36 - Master Men
08:38 - All Master Women 35-64 Years
08:40 - Sub Grandmaster Men
08:42 - Grandmaster Men
08:44 - Sub Great Grandmaster Men
08:48 - Great Grandmaster Men
11:00 - Junior Boys (U18/U16)
11:02 - Junior Girls (U18/U16)
11:04 - Junior Boys Under 14
11:06 - Junior Girls Under 14
13:30 - Senior Men
13:32 - Senior Women
13:34 - C2 Men
16:30 - Senior and Junior Medal Ceremony
More information can be found at
Click to download the hi-res
Africa Logo (GIF).
Euro Steel's Hank McGregor
will once again be the man to catch at the upcoming South African Canoe
Marathon Championships in Pietermaritzburg this weekend.
With a silver medal in the K1
race at the 2016 ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships, Euro Steel's
Andy Birkett will be looking to upset favourite McGregor at the upcoming
South African Canoe Marathon Championships in Pietermaritzburg this
permanently to river and flat-water marathon racing, Euro Steel's
Bridgitte Hartley will be a tough nut to crack in the senior ladies K1
race at the upcoming South African Canoe Marathon Championships in
Pietermaritzburg this weekend.
With a bronze in the junior
girls K1 race at the 2016 ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships, young
Euro Steel ace Kyeta Purchase will be looking to make her mark in her
first year of Under 23 K1 racing at the upcoming South African Canoe
Marathon Championships in Pietermaritzburg this weekend.
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