Canoeing South Africa Media Release

 No: CSA2127

02 Sept 2021

 Embargo : None

Written by: Dave Macleod

Exciting times for Team SA at Junior & Under 23 Sprint Worlds

Durban – A five strong team of young South African canoeists has settled into the Portuguese coastal city of Montemor-O-Velho for the ICF Junior and Under 23 Sprint World Championships from 3-6 September, riding the wave of interest in sprint racing following the recent successful Tokyo Olympic Games.

The team from Mzansi consists of Callam Davis, Alexa Godden, Helen Jansen van Vuuren, Finlay Leask and Matthew Maccelari, eager to take on the world’s best age-group paddlers. The sixth athlete chosen for the team Laila Maher was unable to travel to the event due to illness.

In the Under 23 category Callam Davis will race in the 1000m and 500m K1 races, while in the junior boys races Finlay Leask will race in the K1 1000m and K1 500m. He will be joined by Matthew Maccelari for the K2 500m event.

Maccelari’s K1 assault will include the 200m and 500m events but he will also race in the K2 mixed 500m with Alexa Godden.

Godden’s championships will include the mixed race as well as the K1 200m and then she will team up with Helen Jansen van Vuuren for the girls K2 200m and 500m.

Jansen van Vuuren has added a race to her schedule with the K1 1000m the addition to her two K2 events and the K1 500m.

With an Olympic Games in three years’ time, the qualification process begins now however for CSA President Kim Pople these paddlers are going to form an important part of the sprint team for the foreseeable future.

“These Junior and Under 23 World Championships are so important as we look forward to Paris in 2023 but more importantly we also begin preparation for the next Olympic Games in Los Angles,” Pople said.

“Our goal is by 2022 to have a team of sixteen paddlers at this Junior and Under 23 World Championships so we can have four K4’s across male and female, two each in the juniors and the Under 23’s.

“This is how we will create our team boats which will form our core going forward to international competition.

“The juniors on tour were all involved in Olympic Hopes in Brataslava in 2019 so even though it’s their first World Championships it’s not their first international tour.

“It’s really exciting times as we rebuild the number of sprinters in South Africa with an eye on those Olympic Games in the future.”

Team South Africa Events
Callam Davis: K1 1000m & 500m
Finlay Leask: K1 1000m, 500m and K2 500m
Matthew Maccelari: K1 200m, K2 500m and Mixed K2 500m
Helen Jansen van Vuuren: K1 1000m, 500m and K2 200m & 500m
Alexa Godden K1 200m, K2 200m & 500m and Mixed K2 500m

More details can be found at 


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Canoeing South Africa Logo (GIF).  

The South African Junior and Under 23 sprint team for the ICF Junior and Under 23 Sprint World Championships (Back row from left): Callam Davis, Matthew Maccelari, Finlay Leask. (front row from left): Helen Jansen van Vuuren, Alexa Godden. Bence Vekkassy/
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