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Paull powers into SA team’s first final at World Championships
- Updated: August 20, 2015
By Mark Etheridge
Para-paddler Graham Paull set up the first medal chance for South Africa at the ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships in Milan, Italy on Wednesday.
One of three para-paddlers in the 12-strong SA squad, Paull was in action over 200 metres in the KL1 men’s division.
He went off in the third of three heats and took second spot in 57.831 seconds behind Brazil’s Luis C.Cardosa (56.066).
That saw him through to the semi-final later in the day where he again ended up second in a quicker time of 54.369sec as China’s Xiaowei Yu won in 54.572. The Haenertsburg paddler is now through to Thursday’s final with the second fastest qualifying times from the semis.
South Africa’s other two para-paddlers were unable to get through to their respective finals in day one action.
Jono Wing was sixth in heat three of the KL3 men with a time of 48.611 as Russia’s Leonid Krylov won in 42.274. But the Hilton College pupil was unable to build on that performance as he ended eighth in 46.875 and failed to go through to the final.
Said Wing: ‘My heat wasn’t that difficult, my goal was to just get seventh and qualify for semis. So I got sixth but the time wasn’t great.
‘So we set a new goal for 46 in semi which theoretically would have been good for the B final but the semis saw everyone going quite a lot faster, about two seconds or so. I did my 46 which wasn’t good enough so I reached my time goal but it wasn’t enough as everyone just went a little bit faster.’
And then Pietermaritzburg’s Stuart Hogg, who faces new challenges after a change of category, took part in the VL3 200m where he ended eighth in 1:10.840, 16.853sec behind Hungarian winner Daniel Geri (53.987).
Thursday sees London Olympic bronze medallist Bridgitte Hartley continuing her quest for Rio 2016. She goes off in the third heat of the K1 500m event.
Another London Olympian, Tiff Kruger links up with the promising Esti van Tonder in the K2 500m heats early in the afternoon. The latter athlete took part in the recent World Junior and Under-23 Championships in Portugal.
All Thursday’s other action features the SA men’s paddlers.
They are: Hosea Seleka & Phillemon Mahema C2 500m Heat 1; Louis Hattingh K1 Men 1000m Heat; Hosea Seleka C1 Men 1000m Heat; Gabriel van Wyk & Louis Hattingh K2 Men 200m Heat; Phillemon Maema C1 Men 200m Heat