Emerging young talent Kyeta Purchase got the South African charge off to a positive start on day one of the 2016 ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships in Brandenburg, Germany on Friday when she won the bronze medal in the K1 Junior Girls race while Jenna Ward and Louis Hattingh put in brave efforts to finish fourth and sixth in the K1 Under-23 Women’s and K1 Under-23 Men’s clashes respectively.
Having raced to fourth place at her first ever appearance at a Marathon World Championships in Hungary last year, Purchase charged home to maiden Worlds marathon medal this time around, finishing behind the two Hungarian girls Noémi Pupp and Viktória Nagy while Purchase’s fellow South African, Christie Mackenzie held her own for the majority of the race and finished in a respectable fourteenth overall following her strong start.
Euro Steel’s Purchase headed into the clash aiming to medal – no matter what the colour – and she was happy that she was able to get the job done.
“Last year wasn’t a great World Championships for me so I have been working really hard to improve going into this year and to get a medal means that that hard work has paid off,” said Purchase.
“I messed up on the last portage which cost me a bit of time and I also lacked a bit of pace on the Hungarian girls which was a bit frustrating, but to win a medal is such an incredible feeling and I am really happy!”
In the Under-23 Women’s race, Euro Steel’s Jenna Ward had the hard task of taking on two of the strongest paddlers in the age category – Sara Anna Mihalik and Ward’s very own FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon partner, Vanda Kisli – as well as Belgium’s 2016 Olympian, Hermian Peters.
Despite giving it her all and having been in the race for gold up until the second last lap, the split in the lead four relegated the Durban star to the fight for bronze, a battle she ultimately lost out in in an end sprint for the line with Peters.
“I am obviously a little bit disappointed with fourth place but I couldn’t have done anything different or better and the other girls were just that much stronger than we so congratulations to them!” said Ward who previously claimed bronze in the same event in both 2014 and 2015.
The pressure from the Hungarian pair of Kisli and Mihalik was telling as Ward and the Belgian Peters battled to keep up the pace.
Once the leading pair got away, Peters – who early made a title race ending mistake on the portage – caught Ward and a fascinating fight for third place ensued.
“The intervals on the front were really tough and I knew that I had to try and hang in there for as long as possible.
“Their speed was too quick for me though and although I didn’t get the result I wanted, I couldn’t have done anything differently so I am quite happy,” Ward added.
The Men’s Under-23 race finished off the day’s action for Team South Africa with Louis Hattingh and Nicholas Notten flying the flag high for the Rainbow Nation in the intense affair that went all the way to the final 100 metres.
Hattingh, who fell behind early on and found himself outside the top 12 for much of the first half of the clash, fought back well as he worked his way back to the race at the front of the field.
The final lap proved to be a bridge too far though as the leaders put the hammer down and the top three dropped Hattingh’s chase pack definitively.
Unwilling to give up, Hattingh led the chasers out of the last portage and into the final, short lap however he was unable to hold onto fifth place in the dying stages of the encounter and finished sixth overall.
Hattingh’s team mate Notten paddled well throughout the race and was pushing for a top ten finish however he had to settle for thirteenth place overall in the end.
SUMMARY OF RESULTS – ICF CANOE MARATHON WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS Brandenburg, Germany
Junior Girls K1
1.Noémi Pupp (HUN) 01:34.31
2.Viktória Fruzsina Nagy (HUN) 01:34.51
3.Kyeta Purchase (RSA) 01:35.10
14.Christie Mackenzie (RSA) 01:40.29
Under 23 Women K1
1.Vanda Kiszli (HUN) 01:50.30
2.Sára Anna Mihalik (HUN) 01:50.51
3.Hermien Peters (BEL) 01:52.38
4.Jenna Ward (RSA) 01:52.41
12.Melanie van Niekerk (RSA) 01:57.49
Under 23 Men K1
1.Ádám Petro (HUN) 01:56.40
2.Mads Brandt Petersen (DEN) 01:56.47
3.Franco Balboa (ARG) 01:56.55
6.Louis Hattingh (RSA) 01:58.19
13.Nicholas Notten (RSA) 02:02.29
Saturday, 17 September
09:00 – Junior Boys K1
09:03 – Junior Girls K2
11:30 – Senior Women K1
14:45 – Senior Men K1
Sunday, 18 September
09:00 – Junior Boys K2
11:30 – Senior Women K2
14:30 – Senior Men K2