Elite Athlete Development Programme Media Release
Nkhoesa’s miracle return ends
with 2016 FNB Dusi podium
Durban – Elite Athlete Development Programme paddling star
Banetse Nkhoesa defied the odds at the 2016 FNB Dusi Canoe
Marathon to recover from a severe stabbing in December and finish
the three-day adventure in third place overall with partner
Despite initial ambitions of winning the overall crown at the
2016 FNB Dusi, Nkhoesa and Khwela had to reign in that desire
following a stabbing incident that left Nkhoesa with a wounded
shoulder and punctured lung which led to a decrease in the
functionality of his left lung.
The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Sport and Recreation played a
vital role in providing the best treatment possible for Nkhoesa
and he went on to make a miraculous recovery from the devastating
injury through determination and, in particular, the hard work of
Prime Human Performance Institute’s Dr. Kevin Subban.
Nkhoesa recently met with the Elite Athlete Development Programme
team of experts that helped in his rehabilitation and could not
praise their efforts enough.He didn’t recently meet with us as he
has been on the program for 2 years - so not sure if this is
“It was never just one person that was responsible for my
recovery,” a delighted Nkhoesa said. “The whole team all played a
huge part in getting me back to full fitness before the Dusi and
getting a podium was just my way of saying thank you to them for
all of their hard work!”
“The Department of Sport and Recreation also played an important
role and for that I am very grateful!”
Having been told during his recovery that he would not be back to
his full potential before the race, Nkhoesa knew that he was
going to have to train even harder if he was to give himself and
his partner Khwela even a chance of finishing close to the summit
of the results.
“We were really happy with our result considering what happened
“Those extra challenges made it that much harder for us but it
also made the podium place that much more satisfying!
“We honestly couldn’t have asked for much more – we left it all
out there over the three days,” he beamed.
Fellow EADP star Khwela famously said before the starter’s gun
fired that if Nkhoesa was going to be at 96% then he had to be at
104% in order for them to challenge for a top spot and the latter
credits a lot of their success to the motivation that Khwela
provided throughout the three-day adventure.
“Sbonelo played a big role in getting me through some of the
tough periods of the race.
“He showed faith in me by taking on the race with me when he
could have found someone else instead.
“I have always looked up to him and he pushed me to my limits
which got us over the line,” added Nkhoesa.
Prime Director Dennis Jackson has been following the progress of
Nkhoesa closely and felt the emotion of their performance when he
and Khwela crossed the line in third place on Saturday.
"I have never been more happy or emotional to see two sports
stars finish any race than when Banetse and Sbonelo finished on
Saturday!” described an emotional Jackson. “It was truly one of
the greatest comebacks I have ever witnessed in Elite Sports High
Performance and Medicine.”
The tough 11km stretch along Inanda Dam to finish the second day
in particular takes a lot out of paddlers and Nkhoesa was no
different, leaving Jackson worried that the EADP’s ‘comeback kid’
may not have anything left in the tank for the final day’s
“Msawenkosi Mtolo and I had to carry Banetse from the tent to our
car at the end of day two.
“He had given everything he had and was completely shattered – I
could saw first-hand how much he had given!
“We then shot him back to Dr. Subban at Prime to give him the
best chance of recovering for the final day but at this stage
already, Sbonelo and Banetse had exceeded all expectations by a
long, long way.
“To then finish day three with the fastest time of the day was
just exceptional!" Jackson explained.
Chairperson of Umzinyathi Canoe Club, to whom both Nkhoesa and
Khwela belong, Kim Pople heaped praise on all party's involved.
“I personally do not know how to describe Sbonelo and Baneste’s
last nine weeks.
"Tears, fear, doubt, anger are all words that can describe the
first few weeks after Baneste’s stabbing. Then the sight of them
chasing World Champion Medalists down the river to a podium
finish in the Dusi Canoe Marathon was incredible.
"To the EADP and the magicians at Prime, no words can describe
the role that you played in getting these two athletes back in
the boat and to the starting line, let alone to stand on the
"Thank you for everything that you did for the guys," Pople
information can be found at
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Athlete Development Programme Logo Horizontal on black - GIF
An elated Banetse
Nkhoesa (left) and partner Sbonelo Khwela (right) flank KZN
Department of Sport and Recreation Head of Department Rohini
Naidoo with Councillor Logie Naidoo (far right) as they enjoy the
moment at the finish of the 2016 FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon.
It was a moment to
savour for Elite Athlete Development Programme stars Sbonelo
Khwela and Banetse Nkhoesa who, despite a turbulent build-up,
managed to finish the 2016 FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon in third
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