Canoe Marathon Diary Note
by: Nick Tatham
Khwela eyeing fast start at Ozzie Gladwin
Pietermaritzburg - As the 2018 FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon season begins to
kick into gear, 2016's Dusi silver medallist Sbonelo Khwela is hoping to
kick up his preparations at the 2017 Ozzie Gladwin Canoe Marathon on
Sunday, 26 November.
The Ozzie Gladwin traditionally fills an important role in the
preparations for many Dusi paddlers with the race providing the top
athletes with an opportunity to gain front-row seeding points as well as
testing the all-round skill of paddlers early in the season.
The 26km 'Ozzie' showdown might not be a race on the uMsundusi River,
however it provides similar challenges to the three-day Dusi with a paddle
across the Albert Falls Dam, a portage and then 21km of river paddling to
the finish at Thornville Farm.
Euro Steel/Red Bull's Khwela, who finished second in the 2015 Ozzie
Gladwin with Banetse Nhkoesa, partnered Jasper Mocké for the recent Fish
River Canoe Marathon where they finished ninth, a result that Khwela was
"We didn't get in a boat together until the day before the Fish," he said
with a smile.
"I think that we did well considering we had never paddled together and it
was fun getting back into a K2 and racing with someone new.
"I have had a busy winter and was training hard for Marathon's with Mpilo
Zondi but unfortuntely we couldn't paddle SA Champs because he got sick so
I've been in my K1 quite a lot."
The Ozzie Gladwin is the race that sees many of the top competitors
compete against one another for the first time and with the 2018 Dusi
following the K2 format the 'Ozzie' often gives people an indication of
"I have been thinking about it and I have chatted to Siseko Ntondini about
paddling together, so I will paddle with him if he is available for Ozzie.
"He is a strong paddler and is good in the front of the boat but we
haven't even got close to discussing who is going to be driving.
"The distance isn't going to be a problem with him in Johannesburg and me
in KZN, I am sure that we can work well together," Khwela added.
Khwela showed his prowess when he ran his way to second at last year's
Dusi and he sees the Ozzie Gladwin as a good opportunity to dust off the
cobwebs against some other Dusi title hopefuls.
"I always look forward to Ozzie because it is a good all-round test with a
solid stretch on the dam followed by a portage and then some good river
"It's gives me a good chance to freshen up my Dusi skills and I am ready
to get back into the swing of things at the Ozzie!"
There are a number of races that Khwela plans to make part of his build-up
to the Dusi in February 2018.
"The Umpetha Challenge, Ozzie, 50 Miler and a few of the other smaller
races all form an important part to my preparation for the Dusi.
"It's another big year for me and I am looking forward to our river season
getting underway," an excited Khwela commented.
The 2017 Ozzie Gladwin Canoe Marathon takes place from Albert Falls Dam to Thornvale
Farm on Sunday 26 November. More information can be found at
Click to download the hi-res
Ozzie Gladwin Canoe Marathon
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Ozzie Gladwin Canoe Marathon
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Euro Steel/Red Bull's Sbonelo
Khwela is hoping to get his 2018 FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon season off to a
good start at the 2017 Ozzie Gladwin Canoe Marathon on Sunday, 26
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