The South African canoeing team walked away from the African Sprint Championships in Tunisia with 14 medals and the unique record of a team in which every member was able to claim a medal at the event.
In the final seven 200 metre sprint events of the competition the South African paddlers equipped themselves well as they bagged four silver medals in the men’s events and another three in the women’s events.
Canoeing South Africa president Christo Horn understands the importance of events like the African Championships and the role that it plays in exposing young athletes to international competition.
“We realise the huge importance and role that events like the African Sprint Championships play in growing young paddlers,” Horn said. “Opportunities like this are a great chance for us to showcase the talent that is emerging from the previously disadvantaged areas and with such a successful showing from our athletes we are confident that we have been able to spot some new rising stars.”
The seven silver medals that were claimed by the South Africans on the final day of competition were added to the three gold’s and four previous silver medals to take the tally to the final count of 14. This coupled with the fact that the South African team did not compete in two of the races means that there was a chance that the medal tally of the team could have been even higher.
The final day of competition saw Martin van den Bergh add to his silver medal from the first day as he, once again, scooped the runners up position behind Mohamed Ali Mrabet from Tunisia for the second time during the competition.
In the Junior Men’s K2 200m final the race was very closely fought between Eduan Dippenaar and Carlton Tashantsha when they narrowly lost out to the Tunisian pair by just over half a second. This was to be Dippenaar’s second silver medal of the day to go with his second place finish in the Junior Men’s 200m K1 final.
The impressive Kayla de Beer managed to increase her personal medal tally when she won the silver medal in the Junior Women’s K1 200m, this coming after she produced a stellar performance to win the gold medal in the Junior Women’s 500m K2 race the day before with partner Nokhaya Shange.
Luke Stowman and Joseph Williams collected their second combined silver medal when they came in second in the Men’s 200m K2 final behind the Tunisian pair of Firas Zanzouri and the experienced Mihamed Ali Mrabet.
Brittany Petersen and Nombuso Mzolo paired up in the women’s K2 200m final to claim their second silver medals of the competition. Petersen had earlier in the event taken the second place prize in the women’s K1 500m final and Mzolo had secured the silver medal in the women’s K2 500m final with Melanie van Niekerk.
Van Niekerk was another paddler who increased her haul of medals when she also took home her second silver medal of the championships after she lost out to Afef Ben Isamail of Tunisia by the slightest of margins in the final of the women’s 200m K1 race.
It was an impressive showing from a young, inexperienced South African side which did not boast one paddler outside the Under 23 age category. It was a great experience for a number of the paddlers that had not been out of the country before and to experience an environment of an international event could only place them in a better position as paddlers and as individuals.
SUMMARY OF RESULTS – DAY THREE AFRICAN SPRINT CHAMPIONSHIPS
Junior Men’s 200m K1
1 Karim Emad Abdelsamie(EGY) 42.969
2 Eduan Dippenaar (RSA) 44.280
3 Yassine Belhaj Mohamed (TUN) 44.921
Men’s Marathon K1
1 Mohamed Ali Mrabet (TUN) 14:40.672
2 Martin van den Bergh (RSA) 14:47.585
3 Abderrahmane Ould Kaddour (ALG) 15:45.367
Junior Men’s 200m K2
1 Bassem Zanzouri (TUN) 56.913
2 Eduan Dippenaar/Carlton Tashantsha (RSA) 59.343
3 Akrameddine Keddi Abdelkader/Oussama Djabali (ALG) 01:02.749
Men’s 200m K2
1 Firas Zanzouri/Mohamed Ali Mrabet (TUN) 00:36.691
2 Luke Stowman/Joseph Williams (RSA) 00:37.773
3 Nasreddine Baghdadi/Zakaria Djabli (ALG) 00:39.979
Junior Women’s 200m K1
1 Mennatalla Hassan ali (EGY) 00:57.226
2 Kayla de Beer (RSA) 00:58.838
3 Nour Trigui (TUN) 00:59.820
Women’s 200m K2
1 Abir Ben Isamail/Afef Ben Isamail (TUN) 00:49.321
2 Brittany Petersen/Nombuso Mzolo (RSA) 00:51.979
3 Mai Ahmed ibrahim/Sama Farouk ibrahim (EGY) 00:56.288
Women’s 200m K1
1 Afef Ben Isamail (TUN) 00:52.132
2 Melanie van Niekerk (RSA) 00:52.335
3 Kathia Bra (SEN) 00:54.619