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Andy, Brandon race to 1-2 and Kirsten grabs silver
- Updated: September 21, 2013
Our leading paddlers have helped themselves to more servings from the medal pot at the World Marathon Canoe Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark, writes Mark Etheridge.
The latest day of action saw them winning one gold and two silver medals. But as manager, Peter Cole told Road to Rio 2016, it was the manner of victory that was just as impressive as the medals themselves.
“Young Kirsten Flanagan from Cape Town set the tone for the day when she had the race of her life in the Under-18 girls race to really give it to her Hungarian opponents, eventually splitting them and ending second to Tamara Takacs.”
The second SA paddler in action, Kerry Shuter (part of the new K4 combination that is hoping to be in top form by the Rio Olympics), had a gutsy race to take a solid 11th place.
Next up were the junior boys and Kenny Rice showed great grit by hanging onto the back of the front bunch of seven boats before being dropped with a lap to go. “He hung on for seventh with our other paddler Nicholas Notten having an unfortunate swim at the third portage dropping him down to 17th.”
Flanagan had set the tone of excellence for the SA team and it certainly carried over to the Under-23 men’s team, made up of three-time Dusi Marathon champion Andy Birkett and former world junior champion Brandon van der Walt. It was also Birkett’s first marathon world championships.
“This field was a very strong line-up,” says Cole. “From the start they worked together making sure that they were both well positioned on the bunch, while the Norwegian Mathias Hamar was really pushing the pace up front, whittling down an initial bunch of 10 to three by the final portage.
“It was here that Brandon and Andy made their move getting to the front and never looking back with Andy winning the end sprint by the smallest of margins from Brandon, a 1-2 for team SA, one of the best days for SA marathon paddling.”
Saturday sees the action movingto the Junior K2’s before the senior men and women hit the water in the K1’s.
See our victorious Andy and Brandon’s reactions, right after their historic 1-2.