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Wins for Stubbs, Hartley

Nick Stubbs and Bridgitte Hartley have stamped their dominance on an impressive field, in the first of the trials leading up to this weekend’s SA Sprint Championships at Nagle Dam, KwaZulu-Natal.

Stubbs showed his form early on in the sunny, calm conditions with the fastest time overall in the mens 750-metre heats. In the final, Stubbs and Len Jenkins raced into first and second place respectively, an incredible 10 seconds faster than their heat pace.

In an impressive performance, Stuart Waterworth claimed the final podium position, while the surprise of the day was definitely Shaun Rubenstein, who had to settle for fourth, four seconds off the pace. ┬áRubenstein’s failure to make it onto the podium over this distance is most likely attributed to the fact that Rubenstein, along with K2 partner Mike Arthur, have set their sights firmly on the new 200m Olympic┬áevent for London 2012 and have been training to shine over this distance.

The star duo are presently based in Cape Town as they prepare for their Olympic assault in 2012.

In the womens’ 500m final, Hartley and Jen Hodson raced a┬ánail biter of a race, with Hartley having just the final kick needed to claim first place, less than a second ahead of Hodson. It was an exceptional day of racing, with all of the top┬áfive ladies racing home in under two minutes.

Wednesday’s trial was the first of its kind in SA Sprint canoeing, and a big step towards ensuring the best possible combinations in the K2 and K4 teams heading towards the London 2012 Olympic Games.

All athletes who wished to be considered eligible for selection to the World Cup and World Championship squads in┬áany of the men’s 1000m and women’s 500m events had to compete in this trial in a K1. The theory behind the men racing over a 750m course┬áand not the 1000m distance that they will race in an┬áevent such as a World Cup or the Olympics in a team boat, is that a K1 race over 1000m requires a lot of endurance from the athletes, whereas a K2 or K4 race over the same distance, requires a lot more power and speed to get the boat moving. This has led selectors┬áto┬áconclude┬áthat racing a K1 trial over a┬á750m course would give a greater relative measure of each athlete’s individual power and speed┬áas well as an indication of┬áwhat they would be able to contribute to a team boat.

Although athletes raced in K1’s, ┬áthis trial had no bearing on K1 selection, nor was it to determine partnerships — as selectors are aware that team dynamics, as well as fitness, play a major role in the selection of┬áa successful crew. Wednesday’s trial was, more specifically, to give selectors an idea of what each athlete is capable of on their own relative to other athletes, as well as allowing selectors to gain knowledge of the potentially powerful combinations that could arise from this talented pool of athletes.

This weekend Nagle dam plays host to more exciting sprint racing with four core events, the SA Sprint Championships, the Sprint World Cup selection, the reselection of the residential squad as well as the selection of junior athletes to attend the Youth Olympics.

The way these dedicated athletes have been training and preparing, it is likely that the level of racing seen this weekend at Nagle dam will be the highest ever, and as racing goes there may well be one or two surprises in store.

RESULTS

Women’s 500m Final

1 Bridgitte Hartley 1min 53.09sec
2    Jen Hodson 1:53.95
3    Tiffany Kruger 1:58.09

Mens 750m A Final

1    Nick Stubbs 2min 28.76sec
2    Len Jenkins 2:29.67
3    Stuart Waterworth 2:33.41
4    Shaun Rubenstein 2:33.45
5    Cam Schoeman 2:35.09


1 comments
Mutant
Mutant

A bit of an upset result in the men's race, although one tends to think Rubenstein may be saving himself for this weekends SA Champs and another haul of medals. There's going to be some exciting racing coming up!