River Canoe Marathon Media Service
Speculation abounds as Fish combos take shape
Cradock - With the ICF World Marathon Championships just three weeks
after the Hansa Golden Crisp Fish River Canoe Marathon, the race will
play an integral part in the preparation of a number of the stars
heading to China to do battle in the global marathon showpiece.
The Fish has been moved a week earlier this year and will take place on
27 and 28 September positioning it ideally as a last intensive
competitive outing for the elite paddlers before they start their taper
down for the World Championships starting on 17 October.
Adding to the looming battle on the brown waters of the Fish River, the
race will also double as the South African K2 River Championships,
ensuring that almost all of the country’s best K2 combinations will be
on the start line to challenge for the CSA medals.
It has been confirmed that South Africa’s current World Champion K2 pair
of Andy Birkett and Hank McGregor will not be racing together at the
Fish this year.
Birkett became the second South African after McGregor to do the K1 and
K2 double at last year’s Marathon World Championships and it seems the
29 year old East London-based star is focusing exclusively on defending
his two global titles.
McGregor, however, is expected to be out to try and reclaim the K2 Fish
title that has evaded him since 2013 when he won it with Grant van der
With the McGregor/Birkett combination not happening, the chatter in the
canoeing community now centres on who will be approached by McGregor for
the two-day race into Cradock.
The one combination that isn’t a secret or shrouded in speculation, is
the brother combo of Ryan and Greg Louw.
The pair has been hard in training with the Sella Descent in Spain and
the Breede Canoe Marathon in the Western Cape being their build up races
for the Fish.
Greg Louw won the Fish in 2017 with Birkett, making him the last Eastern
Cape local to win their home canoeing major, and the hero of the Cradock
community in which he grew up.
Last year’s Under 23 champion Stew Little, who finished runner up to
Andy Birkett at the N3TC Drak Challenge in January, will be teaming up
with Berg River Canoe Marathon winner Hamish Lovemore for the upcoming
Liebenbergsvlei Marathon. That could suggest that the Varsity College
room-mates might put in a Fish entry together.
Given the prestige of the Fish, there will be a number of top class
elite crews threatening the podium with a strong contingent from the
Western Cape and from KwaZulu-Natal expected to fight it out for
national bragging rights.
From a ladies perspective, defending K2 champion Jenna Ward will be
contesting the 2019 marathon world championships with Kyeta Purchase and
the duo will pair up for their first river race together since the 2015
Last year’s K1 champion Bridgitte Hartley will also be on the plane to
China and will be racing in the women’s K2 race with Christie Mackenzie
in Shaoxing and the pair have already lodged an entry for the Fish.
Another entry that is confirmed from a women’s perspective is that of
Alex Adie and Kim van Gysen.
The potential combinations for this year’s national K2 championships do
make for interesting reading and a mouth-watering 82km of racing from
Grassridge Dam to the Cradock Sports Complex at the end of September.
More information can be found at
download the hi-resolution pic
Hansa Golden Crisp Fish River Canoe
Marathon 2019 Logo - JPeg
With a Dusi Canoe Marathon
under their belt as a combination, Christie Mackenzie and Bridgitte
Hartley have confirmed that will now set their sights on the 2019 Hansa
Golden Crisp Fish River Canoe Marathon title from 27-28 September.
With a proven pedigree at
international level together, Jenna Ward and Kyeta Purchase have
confirmed that they will be paddling the 2019 Hansa Golden Crisp Fish
River Canoe Marathon together from 27-28 September.
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