It was another strong day of paddling from Team South Africa as Christie Mackenzie and Uli Hart added a bronze each to the medal tally in the Under 23 K1 women’s and men’s races respectively at the ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships in Pitești on Friday.
Mackenzie paddled another impressive race, much like her race in 2017 in Pietermaritzburg when she also bagged a bronze medal in the junior category.
After a strong paddle Mackenzie finished on her own in third with a good gap back to fourth to pick up her second medal at the World Marathon Championships despite her admission it was a difficult race.
“It was one of the toughest races I’ve ever raced,” Mackenzie said. “My start wasn’t great and I nearly had a swim 250 metres in so managed to avoid that one so I was playing catch-up for the whole of the first lap.
“I sat on diamond and got my breath back but when it was just a group three I think that wanted me to pull!” she laughed.
“To have the support from the South African team on the portage is unreal and you can hear the vuvuzela’s through most of the course which is incredible!”
The other South African in the Under 23 women’s race was Kira Bester who finished in a solid sixth position overall.
For Hart it was a race of tactics as he took the decision on the penultimate portage to drop off the pace of the leading two boats and stick with the chasing pack for the final lap and short lap.
The decision paid dividends as Hart put in a powerful end sprint to hold off a group of six other paddlers including former junior silver medallist Charlie Smith to win the bronze medal and claim his first marathon world’s medal.
Alex Masina was the other South African boat in the Under 23 men’s race and Masina ended the race in fifteenth place overall.
The junior women’s K2 racing got the morning’s schedule off to an exciting start with the Durban-based pair of Valmajean Hockly and Tannah Smith flying the flag high at the front of the race however it was the two Hungarian boats who were too strong.
The pair were in a battle for the bronze medal right up to the final push for the line but they lost out and had to settle for fourth in the race – which is an encouraging sign given the pair will be back again in the junior category in 2022.
The other junior women’s pair of Melonie Croeser and Georgina Howard had to settle for thirteenth overall.
Saturday is going to provide another busy schedule for Team South Africa with the Junior Boys K1 race being followed by both Senior Women’s and Senior Men’s K1 races.
SUMMARY OF RESULTS – ICF CANOE MARATHON WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Junior Women K2
1. Sara Fojt/Laura Ujfalvi (HUN) 01:27:31
2. Evelin Csengeri/Maja Horvath (HUN) 01:27:36
3. Sophie Hansen/Karoline Nielsen (DEN) 01:28:52
4. Valmajean Hockly/Tannah Smith (RSA) 01:28:55
13. Meloni Croeser/Georgina Howard (RSA) 01:33:17
Under 23 Women K1
1. Catherine Rask (DEN) 1:47:37
2. Dorina Fekete (HUN) 1:47:45
3. Christie Mackenzie (RSA) 1:48:22
5. Kira Bester (RSA) 1:49:56
Under 23 Men K1
1. Nikolai Thomsen (DEN) 1:50:52
2. Agustin Rodriguez (ARG) 1:52:26
3. Uli Hary (RSA) 1:52:49
15. Alex Masina (RSA) 1:57:10
SOUTH AFRICAN MARATHON TEAM
Junior Boys K1: Matthew Millward, Josh Smith
Junior Boys K2: Matthew Millward/Jack Edmonds, Joshua Simpkins/Matthew Coetzer
Senior Ladies K1: Jenna Nisbet, Melanie Van Niekerk
Senior Ladies K2: Saskia Hockly/Jenna Nisbet, Christie Mackenzie/Bridgitte Hartley
Senior Mens K1: Hamish Lovemore, Hank McGregor
Senior Mens K2: Hamish Lovemore/Hank McGregor, Uli Hart/Kenny Rice
Programme of events:
Race. DATE | SA TIME CATEGORY
17 Sat 02/10/2021 7:15:00 K1 Men Juniors
20 Sat 02/10/2021 12:15:00 K1 Women
21 Sat 02/10/2021 14:45:00 K1 Men
22 Sun 03/10/2021 7:45:00 K2 Men Juniors
24 Sun 03/10/2021 11:00:00 K2 Women
25 Sun 03/10/2021 13:00:00 K2 Men