The 2018 ICF Junior & Under 23 Sprint World Championships get underway in Plovdiv, Bulgaria from Thursday to Sunday and the South African squad of nine men and women are eyeing out some strong performances against the world’s best.
The task is a daunting one for the South African squad who very rarely see competition as strong as the competition that they will come up against this week, however gaining as much experience as possible for the first-timers and building on previous experience for the others will be crucial.
Donna Hutton will be one of the old hands in the squad and she produced a bit of history on 2016 when she qualified for both the 200m and 500m A Finals at the Junior World Championships.
Hutton will be in her second year of Under 23 this year and will be hoping to make her mark in the 200m K1 and the 500m K1.
The other returning face is David Rodrigues. The Gauteng man from Dabulamanzi will be racing in the Under 23 200m K1 race and is hoping that he can qualify for an A Final.
There are scores of under 18 paddlers taking on the challenge this year with the likes of Jonathan Jooste and Jordy Malherbe leading the boys charge and Jackie van der Westhuyzen, Kate Croudace, Caroline van der Linde and Keegan Kieser in the girls races.
Jooste will be racing in the 200m K1 race while Malherbe will take part in the 1000m K1 and 500m K1. Both are hoping for A Finals. Malherbe is only 15 years old, and is using the event to gain as much experience as possible.
Croudace will be taking on the longer race with her eyes set on an A Final in Under 18 Girls 1000m K1, while Van der Linde is also hoping for an A Final in the Under 18 Girls 200m K1.
Morgan Ziervogel will be taking on the Under 23 1000m K1 race.
There will only be one K2 boat taking part in the World Championships and that will feature Keegan Kieser and Jackie van der Westhuyzen.
The pair will be racing in the Under 18 500m race and Van der Westhuyzen will also be paddling in the 500m K1 event.
PRELIMINARY HEAT SCHEDULE – ICF Junior & Under 23 Sprint World Championships, Plovdiv
Jordy Malherbe – U18 Boys 1000m K1 08:10
Kate Croudace – U18 Girls 1000m K1 09:13
Morgan Ziervogel – U23 Women 1000m K1 09:34
Caroline van der Linde – U18 Girls 200m K1 14:15
Jonathan Jooste – U18 Boys 200m K1 14:35
Donna Hutton – U23 Women 200m K1 15:35
David Rodrigues – U23 Men 200m K1 15:55
Jackie van der Westhuyzen – U18 Girls 500m K1 14:18
Donna Hutton – U23 Women 500m K1 15:12
Jordy Malherbe – U18 Boys 500m K1 16:00
Keegan Kieser/Jackie van der Westhuyzen – U18 Girls 500m K2 16:24