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Beresford, Van Niekerk star

All the big names in South African junior sprint kayaking made their way to Nagle Dam, outside Pietermaritzburg, for the 16th Annual SA Schools Sprint Kayaking Championships, with Blaine Beresford and Melanie van Niekerk claiming the Victor and Victrix Ludorum Under-18 titles. 

This followed their outstanding performances at the recent SA Sprint Kayaking Championships, In the K1 racing, Beresford dominated all of the U18 boys’ events except for the K1 1000m race, where he had to settle for silver after a superb performance by fellow Maritzburg College boy, Dewald Hattingh. The dynamite pairing of Hattingh and Beresford in the K2 events proved too much for the others, and they remained unbeaten throughout the weekend.
 
Similarly, Melanie van Niekerk only had to settle for one silver amongst her many gold medals when she and K2 partner Jenna Ward were narrowly beaten by the Under-16┬á pair of Kerry Segal and Jenna Starr in the U18 girls’ 1000m K2 event. ┬á
 
Segal must claim the standout performance of the weekend, boasting not only the U18 K2 1000m win, but also gold medals in the 3000m, 1000m, 500m, 200m K1 events in her age category, and times in the 1000m and 500m K1 that were faster than those set in the U18 girls events.
 
To add to the performances in the U16 age category, Brittany Peterson’s four gold medals in the K2 racing with partner Kerry Shuter, as well as her consistent performance’s in the K1 racing, enabled her to claim the U16 Victrix Ludorum title. Luke Stowman’s gold medals in the K1 3000m, 1000m and 500m ensured that he walked away as the Victor Ludorum in the same category.
 
After an intense two weekends of racing, the Junior sprint squad can now look forward to gaining international racing experience as they travel to the Bochum regatta, in Germany in June. If recent performances are anything to go by, we can look forward to some exciting results, and hopefully medals, from this tour.


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