Canoeing South Africa has announced a very strong South African team that will head to the 2022 ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships in Ponte de Lima, Portugal from 26 September to 2 October.
The 21 paddler strong team will do battle across the junior, under 23 and senior ranks at the event where South Africa has a strong legacy, matched by an expectation of podium performances across all age groups.
Team SA returned from Romania in 2021 with four bronze medals and will be hoping to improve that tally and feature on the higher steps of the podium.
Saskia Hockly, Christie Mackenzie, Jenna Nisbet and Uli Hart are all back in the side this year after their medal-winning finishes last outing.
Hamish Lovemore, who was once again the stand-out paddler at the national trials held at the recent national championships, has decided to race in the Under 23 K1 race as well as the senior K1.
He’ll race alongside Hart who won bronze in the Under 23 K1 race at the World Championships last year.
Coetzer and Simpkins will return in the Junior Boys K2 race hoping to avenge their heart-breaking mistake that cost them a podium finish twelve months ago. They will both race the K1 race after the KZN duo finished first and second respectively at the national championship at Hazelmere dam.
They’ll be joined by the Western Province pair of Josh Smith and Luke Jean le Roux in the Junior Boys K2 race.
Hockly will team up with her younger sister Valmajean in the Junior Girls K2 while Tannah Smith races in the K1 and then pairs up with Neriyah Dill in the K2.
Christie Mackenzie will be out to at least reproduce her efforts from 2021 in the Under 23 Women’s K1 race alongside Jade Wilson, who makes her Under 23 K1 debut.
In the senior division Bridgitte Hartley will look to continue her form as she races both the short course and the full women’s K1 race, buoyed by her two bronze medals at the ICF Marathon World Cup in Prague this month.
Jenna Nisbet will take on the short course with Nikki Birkett who finished second at the national championships and will race the long course alongside Hartley.
Having just raced the Under 23 race Lovemore will have his work cut out for him when he races in the senior men’s race with former world champion Andy Birkett back in the K1 fold.
In the K2 senior races, the 2016 world champion crew of Hank McGregor and Jasper Mocké will wind back the clock as they compete together with Andy Birkett and Nick Notten in the senior men’s K2 division.
2021 K2 bronze medallist Jenna Nisbet and Pippa McGregor will race in the women’s K2 race while a new all-Under 23 combination of Christie Mackenzie and Jade Wilson will also race in the senior women’s K2 race.
“After three days of hard, tight racing, it is an exciting team that has been selected. With three months until the Champs, there is another full block of training,” CSA President Kim Pople said.
“We wish the team all the best in their preparations.”
Team South Africa:
Girls U18 K1
Saskia Hockly, Tannah Smith
Girls U18 K2
Saskia Hockly/Valmajean Hockly, Tannah Smith/Neriyah Dill
Boys U18 K1
Matthew Coetzer, Joshua Simpkins
Boys U18 K2
Matthew Coetzer/Joshua Simpkins, Luke Jean Le Roux/Josh Smith
U23 Women K1
Christie Mackenzie, Jade Wilson
U23 Men K1
Hamish Lovemore, Ulvard Hart
Short Course Women
Bridgitte Hartley, Jenna Nisbet
Short Course Men
Hank McGregor, Ulvard Hart
Senior K1 Women
Bridgitte Hartley, Nicole Birkett
Senior K1 Men
Hamish Lovemore, Andy Birkett
Senior K2 Women
Jenna Nisbet/Pippa McGregor, Christie Mackenzie/Jade Wilson
Senior K2 Men
Hank McGregor/Jasper Mocke, Andy Birkett/Nicholas Notten