River Canoe Marathon Diary Note
Ominous signs from World Champs stars ahead of Hansa Fish
Cradock Ė Another strong performance from Team South Africa at the
recent Canoe Marathon World Championships gives an indication of which
of the nationís paddlers are in the best form heading into the 2018
Hansa Fish River Canoe Marathon from 5-6 October.
2018 was a watershed year at the global marathon showpiece with now
11-time world champion Hank McGregor retiring from the menís K1 race,
leaving the door open for his Euro Steel team mates Andy Birkett and
Jasper Mockť to lay claim to the coveted title.
It was Birkett who impressed as he powered his way to his first ever
senior K1 gold medal ahead of Hungarian AdriŠn Boros in second and Mockť
Birkettís impressive form in his K1 might just push him into the
favouriteís position for this yearís Hansa Fish with McGregor lacking a
bit of race practice in his K1, despite him and Birkett storming to the
K2 gold at Marathon Worlds.
The trio of McGregor, Birkett and Mockť have all entered this yearís
race for the SA K1 title at the Fish, however interestingly enough
2016ís third place finisher and two-time defending K2 winner Greg Louw
has opted out of the K1 contest.
The contest for the menís title may well come down to an end-sprint
between McGregor and Birkett, very much like it did in 2016 when
McGregor just managed to get himself ahead and stay there to win the
race by 21 seconds.
From an international perspective this year will see the return of
Spanish marathon racer Kiko Vega. Vega took part in the Fish in 2016
where he finished the race in 15th overall and will be hoping that his
third visit to Cradock can yield a better result.
From a senior ladies perspective, with the absence of Abby Solms, Jenna
Ward must go into the showdown as the favourite following her impressive
showing at the World Championships.
Euro Steelís Ward, in her first senior womenís world championships,
paddled with determination to finish the K1 race in seventh place
Wardís nearest rival and 2016ís runner up is her Euro Steel team mate
Bridgitte Hartley. Hartley didnít quite have the World Championships
that she was hoping for and finished the race in twelfth place but she
will be a contender following the vast improvement in her river skills.
The next generation of paddlers that will be out to impress in the
ladies race will be the under 23 duo of Christie Mackenzie and Sabina
Lawrie. Both have completed three Hansa Fishís and will be hoping to
upset the older, more fancied pair.
Mackenzie, who finished ninth in the U23 womenís race in Portugal last
week, has proved that she is a river racing star after claiming two
consecutive silver medals at the FNB Dusi. She finished second in a K1
in 2017 and then followed that up with a silver in a K2 this year.
Lawrie, who came ninth in the U23 womenís race over one minute 20
seconds ahead of Mackenzie, is more at home in a surfski but will still
be one to watch in Cradock this year.
An entry from Louis Hattingh and Hamish Lovemore might get the ears
pricking up from an Under 23ís perspective.
Both have competed for the country at World Championships this year,
Hattingh in the marathon showpiece, and Lovemore in the sprint world
champs last month.
A paddler that will also feature in the Under 23 showdown is Stuart
Little. Littleís river skills are impressive and he too will be a force
to watch, having enjoyed run of recent wins in the KZN regional races.
From a juniors perspective Maritzburg Collegeís David Evans and Hamish
Mackenzie will be the two paddlers to watch. Both have come off some
good form and a bronze K2 medal at the World Championships so they could
easily be fighting it out for the Under 18 K1 prize.
In the junior girls race Caitlin Mackenzie and Amy Peckett equipped
themselves well at the marathon world champs and will be the two
favourites to win the Under 18 girls title in Cradock this year.
Mackenzie finished just outside the medals in fourth and Peckett in 19th
in Portugal last weekend but the river is a different beast and could
even out the contest over the two days of racing.
More information can be found at
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Fish River Canoe
Marathon 2018 Logo - JPeg
Euro Steel star Andy Birkett
will be hoping to back up his first Marathon World Championships K1
medal with his first K1 title at the upcoming Hansa Fish River Canoe
Marathon from 5-6 October.
She might have just missed out
on a medal at the ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships, but Euro
Steel's Jenna Ward will be itching to claim her first K1 title at the
upcoming Hansa Fish River Canoe Marathon from 5-6 October.
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