2017 FNB Dusi Canoe
Solms’ preparations on track for maiden K1 Dusi bid
Pietermaritzburg – With two months to go to the 2017 FNB Dusi Canoe
Marathon, women’s pre-race favourite Abby Solms is confident her
preparations are well on track for the iconic three-day race from Camp
Drift, Pietermaritzburg to Durban’s Blue Lagoon from 16-18 February, and
ready to tackle any challenges that the weather and water may throw up at
her in the build-up to the big race.
While the drought continues to leave paddlers with limited opportunities to
train on the river in simulated race conditions, Solms has made good use of
KwaZulu-Natal’s recent pre-Dusi build-up races and has shown unrivalled form
The Euro Steel/Gara Racing Paddles athlete has already notched up two key
race victories at the Ozzie Gladwin Canoe Marathon, presented by Parklane
Superspar and the 50 Miler Canoe Marathon, presented by StaminaGro recently,
giving her good confidence as she heads into the second half of her Dusi
“In a K1 year it is important to be comfortable in your boat and I haven’t
done too much training in my K1, so these races have been important for me,”
“There are so many mixed opinions about what’s going to happen with the rain
and the river levels; given the drought, some are obviously saying it will
be low but others are saying that we may well have a very full Dusi, so who
“If the rains come in January, as some expect them too, then we might end up
getting plenty of tripping opportunities, but you don’t quite know for sure
and so at this stage you’ve got to try make everyone opportunity count.”
Solms, referred to in years gone by as the ‘Dusi Bridesmaid’ after finishing
second no fewer than six times in a row between 2009 and 2014, finally shook
the unwelcome tag earlier this year when she and Czech Republic’s Anna
Adamová clinched the race’s K2 women’s crown in commanding fashion.
The ridding of her Dusi hoodoo and rightful engraving of her name on the
winner’s trophy was memorable for Solms and she is now eager to ensure she
is as well prepared as possible for February’s assignment in order for her
to stake a strong claim for the race’s coveted K1 title.
“As opposed to the K2 race I did with Anna in 2014 where we were within a
minute of Robyn (Owen) and Abbey (Ulansky), the last couple of K1 races
haven’t actually been all that close.
“In the past I don’t actually know if I’ve ever been properly prepared for
my K1 Dusis and if you’re not 100% prepared then you can’t expect to win.
“I’ll go in there next year as prepared as I can be and let’s hope it all
Given the currently uncertainty around probable river levels come race day,
Solms’ accumulated experience of varying river levels and water conditions
will count strongly in her favour, especially with many expecting 2012
London Olympics bronze medallist and recent Umpetha Challenge winner
Bridgitte Hartley to be Solms’ nearest challenger for the women’s spoils.
“A low-ish, technical level would probably be my preferred river level for
Dusi because I back my ability and my river skills.
“On the other hand though, I’ve done a few Umkos and at Fish I manage the
bigger water too, so any level is fine by me,” she adds.
Regardless of conditions, the 27 year-old Pietermaritzburg based paddler
will undoubtedly line up on the start line at Camps Drift on Thursday 16
February as women’s race favourite, anticipating a tough three-day tussle
and eager to get her hands on a maiden K1 Dusi crown.
information can be found at www.dusi.co.za
Click to download the hi-res
FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon logo (Landscape) - GIF
FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon logo
(Portrait) - GIF
Despite being one of the
strongest river paddlers in the women's ranks for a number of years, Euro
Steel/Gara Racing Paddles' Abby Solms has never won a K1 FNB Dusi Canoe
Marathon title, an achievement she wants to put right in 2017.
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