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Canoeists on song
- Updated: October 22, 2011
The Under-23 and Masters age group paddlers set the tone for the ambitious South African canoeing team at the world marathon championships in Singapore on Friday where they posted top results in volatile weather, with the Masters adding nine K2 medals to their first day tally of 11 podiums.
Racing in extreme heat and humidity, and through a torrential rainstorm, the South African junior and Under-23 K1 paddlers all acquitted themselves well and posted solid top 10 results.
In the very tightly contested Under-18 races Maritzburg College schoolboy Donovan Wewege was in contention for most of his race and fell just short of medalling with an impressive fifth place. Former world champ and a fellow College Old Boy Ant Stott described Wewege’s race as “brilliant.”
In the junior girls race, St Johns DSG pupil Emma Horner equalled Wewege’s feat with a solid fifth in the U-18 girls K1 race, fighting her way to the front of the chasing pack after a difficult start on the extreme outside.
In the U-23 K1 races, South Africa secured two seventh places from Jenna Starr, while former senior world K2 champ Cam Schoeman struggled with a leaky K1 to finish off the podium pace and seventh in the men’s U-23 showdown.
Every South African doubles crew that entered the Masters Cup that precedes the start of the world championships proper raced onto the podium, setting an upbeat mood in the crowd of senior and junior paddlers that was out in vocal support of their elders.
Brothers Neil and Sean Evans, racing in the 35-39 years age group bagged a silver medal, despite Neil slipping, falling and dropping the canoe on the slippery plastic covering over the synthetic soccer pitch that the portage is run over. The siblings had a ding-dong battle with a Spanish crew until their penultimate lap and won the silver medal behind the Hungarian crew that had dominated the race from the start.
James Tutton and Daynie Loots, teaming up for the first time as a late entry mixed doubles crew and won the bronze in the 40-44 year age group, Loots adding to the gold medal that she had won in her K1 event from the first day.
In the 45-49 year age group, despite battling with the heat and injury, Brendon Thompson and Derek Hauptfleisch won silver, despite Hauptfleisch having to carry the kayak on his own on three of the five portages. Compatriots Bruce Banfield and Gavin Steyl followed them home, just on a minute later to claim the bronze.
In the 50-54 age group, Paddy Strickland and Bruce Wenke had a storming race to claim the silver behind the victorious British crew, despite Wenke’s fall at the third portage, when the boat moved away from the jetty as he made his move to get onto it. This resulted in him falling into the water and capsizing the canoe, causing them an unnecessary delay as he had to recover from his fall and empty the canoe.
On Saturday all eyes will be on Durbanite Hank McGregor, in the best form of his career, as he bids for a second world marathon championships title. He will start alongside compatriot and former world champion Shaun Rubenstein in what promises to be a thrilling showdown with defending champ Ben Brown from Great Britain and the Spanish marathon icon Manuel Busto Fernandes.
Results (SA only)
5 Donovan Wewege
11 Dominic Notten
5 Jenna Starr
7 Cam Schoeman
7 Jenna Starr
Men ÔÇô 35-39 years
2┬á Neil Evans/Sean Evans
Men ÔÇô 40-44 years┬á
3 James Tutton/Daynie Loots
Men ÔÇô 45-49 years┬á
2 Brendon Thompson/Derek Hauptfleisch
3 Bruce Banfield/Gavin Steyl
Men ÔÇô 50-54 years┬á
2 ÔÇô Patrick Strickland/Bruce Wenke
Men ÔÇô 55-59 years
1 Nigel Briggs/Gary Atkinson
3 Alan Hold/Tim Cornish
Women ÔÇô 55-59 years
1 Beth Burton/Minnie Kretzschmar.
Men ÔÇô 60-64 yearsÔÇ¿
1 Enslin van Riet/Rob MacLean