Elite Athlete Development Programme Media Release
EADP sweep the SA medals at
World Marathon Champs
Durban – The recent ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships in
Brandeburg, Germany provided the ideal platform for South African
paddlers to thrive on the international stage and the
KwaZulu-Natal Department of Sport and Recreation backed Elite
Athlete Development Programme shone as they scooped six of the
medals won by Team South Africa.
South African paddlers have traditionally achieved their best
international canoeing results at the flat-water marathon
showpiece and the 2016 haul was no different with the legendary
Hank McGregor leading the way.
McGregor repeated his feat of 2014 where he won both the men’s K1
and K2 titles however the EADP’s own Andy Birkett also made it a
double podium in the men’s racing when he finished behind
McGregor in the K1 race to take silver and along with K2 partner
and fellow EADP star Louis Hattingh wrapped up the bronze medal
in the doubles race.
“We have been working really hard with the EADP satellite
programme in Pietermaritzburg and our results have shown how
important all the elements of our training with the EADP are in
preparing us for a world championship,” Birkett mentioned.
“Having consistent help along the way is vital in helping us
compete with the best in the world and I appreciate all the
assistance that we have received.”
2017 sees the World Marathon Championships return to South
African shores after more than a decade and more specifically to
Birkett’s hometown of Pietermaritzburg. Challenging for a gold
medal on home soil in front of a home crowd is a chance he is not
“Of course World Marathon Champs here next year is going to be my
major focus. I cannot believe that I have got the privilege of
racing a world championship in my home town!
“It’s going to be a pretty surreal experience not having to catch
shuttles to racing venues and being able to wake up at home in
the morning!” Birkett mentioned excitedly.
Another young paddler who came to the fore at the world
championships was Kyeta Purchase. The young Durban school girl
surprised many in 2015 when she nearly raced on to the Under 18
girls K1 podium however she did that in 2016 taking the bronze
medal in the K1 bout.
The biggest surprise came when she and Under 23 K2 partner and
fellow EADP athlete Jenna Ward raced to a remarkable second in
the senior ladies K2 race on the final Sunday of competition at
the World Marathon Championships.
“The K2 was the biggest race for us and we knew that we had a
chance but we went into the race happy to settle for a lower
position but as the race went on we realised that we were strong
enough to compete.
“We were fit enough and powerful enough to take on the top K2
crews and we shocked ourselves when we finished in second place
against the best women in the world.
“It was really a justification of all the hard work that we had
put in and to come away with a silver medal in the K2 race was
incredible for both of us!” a satisfied Purchase commented.
The EADP contingent consisted of Birkett, Louis Hattingh, Jean
van der Westhuysen in the men’s category with Jenna Ward and
Kyeta Purchase in the women’s races with the team accounting for
over half of the overall medal haul from Team South Africa.
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Athlete Development Programme Logo Horizontal on black - GIF
Still relatively new
to marathon racing, Euro Steel's Andy Birkett showed his talent
when he finished second in the K1 race and third with fellow EADP
star Louis Hattingh in the K2 race at the recent ICF Canoe
Marathon World Championships in Brandenburg, Germany.
In what was one of
the performances of the recent ICF Canoe Marathon World
Championships, young EADP stars Jenna Ward and Kyeta Purchase
finished second in the senior women's K2 race at the event in
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