Robertson – Defending champion Lance King dropped a bombshell on the Breede River Canoe Marathon, which gets underway next weekend, when he confirmed that he will not be taking part because of a series of complications stemming from the wrist injury that plagued him during this year’s Berg River Canoe Marathon.
When the normal entries closed on Monday night King’s partner to victory last year Heinrich Schloms had entered with class racer Gavin White, confirming that the defending champions had scuttled plans to retain their title, despite being in the top three in last weekend’s pre-Breede race from Drew to Swellendam.
“That was the last straw,” said King. “It all goes back to my wrist injury. I have been trying to compensate for the sore wrist and my stroke and seating position has all changed. Now I have back problems from this changed position and have to see a chiropractor.”
“The worst thing is that Heinrich and I were not comfortable as we were both leaning in the boat, and it became totally unbearable,” said King. “I felt like I was ruining his race. That’s when we agreed that we couldn’t do the Breede this year.”
King added that it was a tough decision to make as he and Schloms were determined to win it again, and in the process put to bed any misgiving the others might have had about last year’s race, and their tactics in the closing stages.
“I looked through the entry list on the website, and because it is SA K2 champs all the top boats are there,” said King. “Every Tom, Dick and Harry will be on the start line. Except me.”
King’s decision was also motivated by his desire to sort out his wrist and back problems before the Hansa Fish Canoe Marathon in October, which is the SA K1 champs this year. The last time the Fish doubled as the K1 championships King finished fifth despite portaging Keith’s Flyover and Cradock Weir.
“I will be there, one way or another,” said King. “Maybe seconding or helping someone out. But I am upset. Who wouldn’t be. I was so looking forward to this year’s Breede.” The Breede River Canoe marathon starts with a 37km first stage from Robertson to Bonnievale on Saturday 8 September and ends with a 34km final stage from Bonnievale to Kambati River Resort on Sunday 9 September 2012.
More information and results are available at www.breedemarathon.co.za