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Kayakers touch base in Canada
- Updated: August 3, 2009
By Mark Etheridge
After months of training and 30 hours of travelling, canoeing’s Team South Africa have finally arrived in Dartmouth, Canada for the World Sprint Championships.
The team will compete in 10 different events at World Championships and comprises eight male athletes with the world’s top ranked sprint kayaker, Bridgitte Hartley, the sole female member.
Heats start on Thursday, August 13 and 2008 Beijing Olympians Hartley and Shaun Rubenstein will be those most favoured to medal.
Rubenstein will be a medal contender both in the K1 1,000 metres as well as the K2 where he teams up with Mike Arthur over 1,000m.
Said Rubenstein Monday: “Its great to be here in Halifax. The weather is warm and it is a nice feeling to be overseas for a race in a country outside of Europe, where everyone speaks English.
“We are going to race on Lake Banook which is situated in Dartmouth, about 20 minutes away from where we are staying. It’s one and a half weeks till we race, so we have time to aclimatise and enjoy the new conditions.
Hartley made her way from Hungary to join the squad and flew from Europe.
“I’m confident with the training that I have done so far, so having that on my side I should line up on the start line being ready to race my best! This makes it very exciting but having not raced anyone since the World Cups in June, there is a big unknown as to how the others athletes are going. Thats what makes racing and competition more exciting I guess!
Hartley finalised her preparations in a manner far removed from the watersports arena.
She said on her internet blog: “Recently, Hungary hosted a Formula One Grand Prix. I went to a promotion event one afternoon for Panasonic Toyota, their drivers were there to sign autographs and there was a racing car on display.
“They called up people to make teams of three and have races to see who could change a tyre the quickest on the car. We were kitted with gloves and racing glasses/masks over our eyes. I had the drill to undo and tighten the nut. The tyres were actually really light to pick up! so this was lots of fun and we managed to win one round of competition.”
Come the World Championships and Hartley will be hoping some of the Formula One speed rubs off on her kayak.