Back to the drawing board, but Van Tonder will bounce back | SASCOC - SASCOC
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Back to the drawing board, but Van Tonder will bounce back

Van Tonder

By Mark Etheridge

Buoyed by making her first Olympic distance A-Final in the first ICF Sprint World Cup of the season in Portugal earlier this month, Esti van Tonder found herself coming down to earth in last weekend’s World Cup II in Szeged, Hungary.

In Portugal she made the A Final of the K1 500m, where she ended eighth.

This weekend she wasn’t as fortunate, getting to seventh in the K1 500m semi-final (1min 57.293sec, see picture) and then repeating that position in the K1 200m C Final (43.004sec).

Back in Pretoria, Van Tonder is battling to put her finger on what went wrong in Hungary.

‘I obviously knew that it would be a stronger World Cup than Portugal, and I was very confident going into the event that if I could just reproduce the quality of racing from Portugal, that I would do well.

‘But unfortunately that was not the case. It seemed like somewhere between Portugal and Hungary I had lost the synchronisation between body and mind. But I still learned a lot from the experience, you can’t always just have perfect races. Sometimes things go wrong and then you also need to be able to deal with that and stay strong for the remainder of the event.’

‘To be honest, I can’t really pinpoint what went wrong. Myself, Niel [Du Plessis, conditioning coach from Sport Science Lab and PVM] and Fouche [her brother and technique coach] will sit down now and recap on all the races, watch the videos, compare post-race notes and data and then see where we can improve from there.

‘I was very disappointed after my 500 semi, but I still had the 200 heat to race that day, and I knew that if that was also a bad race then I would struggle to get myself back together for the last two days of racing. So racing a good 200 heat helped, and I was happy to make it into the 200 C-final. Happy, but not entirely satisfied.’

Van Tonder was tempted to stay on and race in Belgrade ‘as ‘I may as well, just to finish off the European tour on a bit of a better note. But I’m now going to finish up exams and get back to work and also train for World Champs in August.’

The other South African in action (just as in Portugal) was Chrisjan Coetzee, the Wellington paddler, also struggling, but making the men’s K1 200m semi-finals.


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