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Masters in medals

The South African Masters marathon paddlers provided the ultimate boost to the senior national team by winning 10 medals at the Masters World Cup, which took place prior to the ICF Marathon World Championships in Porto, Portugal.

The Masters World Cup is open to marathon kayakers and canoeists over the age of 35, and this year saw more than 280 boats from 21 different countries take part on the waters of the Duero River.

Wednesday dished up ideal calm and bright conditions, and the South Africans took full advantage by quickly positioning themselves on the front bunches of all the age group races, and but for a few equipment problems during the day, there could have been even more success.

The K1 Masters 35 to 39 age group were first off the start line, with Dave Hamilton-Brown racing to a fourth place finish. Willem van Riet Jnr did the same in the 40 to 44 category, with Gavin Tarr just behind in sixth position.

The South Africans had various successes, winning five medals on the first day and having a number just missing the podium, whilst a few, potential medal winners, suffered equipment failure, but for which would have seen them probably on the podium.

The first medal of the day went to Eugene van der Westhuizen, who claimed bronze in the 45 to 49 age group, and so the precedent was set for the latter age group paddlers. Hilda Vervisch was the first to crest the top of the podium when she powered her way to the gold medal in the Ladies 50 to 54 category.

Western Cape stalwart Giel van Deventer took bronze in the 60 to 64 event, with 70-year-old spring chicken Herve de Rauville claiming silver in the over-70 age group. Rounding off the first day’s medal haul was the solitary C1 paddler, Radoslaw Olszewski, whose first place in the 45 to 49 age group secured a memorable hat-trick of Masters World Cup gold medals.

There was drama in the 45 to 49 year Men’s race as Ronald Pronk was struck in the face by a competitor’s paddle, resulting in 8 stitches in his forehead. He still had the presence of mind to finish in twelfth place.

The second and final day of the ‘oldies’ competition on Thursday, saw team members pair up for the K2 racing in were once again perfect weather conditions. Racing started at 9:30am and the first South Africans off the line were Warren Valentine and Dave Hamilton-Brown.

The duo had to eventually settle for fourth place in what was an exceptionally fast-paced 35 to 39 race, setting the trend for three more fourth places over the course of the day. Mark Bosch and Willem van Riet were fourth in the 40 to 44 year category, achingly close to bronze, as were Peter Duncan and Linton Hope in the 50 to 54 year category, and Giel van Deventer and Steve Jourdan in the Grandmasters.

The first of the day’s five medals was secured in the 55 to 59 year event, with Rob MacLean and Andre Rabie stroking to a memorable gold ahead of fellow South African Tim Conish, who had paired up with Briton Brian Greenham. Len Jenkins Snr and Belgian Marc Moens belied their age as they also claimed gold in the over 70 event.

The SA Masters Ladies all did exceptionally well, with every crew that raced eventually winning medals. In the 45 – 49 years age group, Katarzyna Lapacz and Elize Maree won bronze whilst in the Womens 50 – 54 years, Hilde Vervisch won her second gold medal of the Cup when she and Sandra Eardley paddled to victory, with Louise de Villiers and Lorett Visser chasing them home to claim the silver.

Saturday sees the Senior action get underway with the K1 races taking place from 9:30am, with the K2 races on Sunday. The Junior K1 events took place on Friday, with the K2 on Sunday. Visit www.canoemarathonwc2009.com for live streaming, news and results.

Masters World Cup, Portugal
Results Summary

Day 1 ÔÇô K1 Races

35-39
4th Dave Hamilton Brown

40-44
4th Willem van Riet Jnr
6th Gavin Tarr

45-49
3rd Eugene van der Westhuizen
7th Flip de Wet
12th Ronald Pronk
45-49 (C1)
1st Radoslaw Olszewski

Women 50-54
1st Hilda Vervisch

50-54
5th TC Smit

55-59
5th Rob MacLean
7th Andre Rabie
10th Russell Keet

60-64
3rd Giel van Deventer
10th Steve Jourdan

70+
2nd Herve de Rauville

Day 2 ÔÇô K2 Races

35-39
4th Dave Hamilton-Brown / Warren Valentine
12th Andrew Cooper / Nic Warren

40-44
4th Mark Bosch / Willen van Riet Jnr
7th Brandon Collyer / Gavin Tarr
13th Malcolm Stotard / Sevaas Fick

45-49
8th Ronald Pronk / Theo Smit
10th Andreas van Tonder / Cristo Horn

Ladies 45-49
3rd Elize Maree / Katarzyna Lapacz

50-54
Linton Hope / Peter Duncan 4th
Women
1st Hilde Vervisch / Sandra Eardley
2nd Louiiese Villiers / Lourette Visser

55-59
1st Andre Rabie / Rob MacLean

60-64
5th Giel van Deventer / Steve Jourdan

65-69
1st Len Jenkins / Marc Moens
4th Herve de Rauville / Anthony Nolan


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