The Sword of Damocles, that has been hanging over Bridgitte Hartley’s head, has been removed. Her trip to Rio has been guaranteed.
There is a weird selection process for athletes to the Olympic Games Sprint Canoeing, which sees a “spot” being qualified for at the qualifying event.
At last year’s World Championships in Milan, Bridgitte qualified a spot in the woman’s 500m K1. The fact that she was the one who managed to secure the qualification did not ensure that she would necessarily be the one who would be chosen. Much like a monkey that jumps through a window and steals a banana, only to get back into the tree and have it snatched away.
The selection for the individual took place this weekend at the SA Sprint Championships at Shongweni Dam.
Bridgitte managed a convincing win in the 500m, nearly 3 seconds ahead of her closest rival Esti Van Tonder.
Bridgitte added the 100m, 200m and 5000m titles to her weekends K1 haul as well, proving that she is indeed the current queen of sprints in SA.
The single handed domination was not apparent in the other classes. Louis Hattingh stuck his hand up for most of the men’s titles, and the juniors and U23’s had a number of stars taking home medals.
The first national championships to be held on the new sprint course on Shongweni dam was a massive success.
Slick organizing, a friendly atmosphere, and a superb course made for a memorable event. Huge kudos to Kim Pople and her team at Umzinyathi.
She is not out of the ring just yet though. This was just round 2 of a 4 round epic. Next week will see almost 4 times the number of paddlers descend on the same dam for the SA Schools Championships (22-24 March), followed a few short days later by paddlers from over 20 different nations in Africa, for the Africa Sprint Champs (2 – 3 April). The punch drunk committee may well resign after that.
The success of our development program in this country is often measured by the number of previously disadvantaged paddlers who dominate the top placings in the Dusi.
Most of these paddlers come from a program that Martin Dreyer has been consistently running for over a decade, called the “change a life” program.
Not only has he turned many valley kids into superb athletes and race winners, he has crept into their lives and made a real difference in many other aspects.
Martin, a multiple Dusi winner himself, has never been much of a one for the limelight or of blowing his own trumpet. He has quietly got on with his job, and produced the goods.
Last week, all of this changed, when he was thrust into the international limelight (in a tux nogal). Martin was flown to Barcelona, Spain, where he received the Foundation Award at the World Paddle Awards, for his dedication and hard work.
Those who know Marty, and all he has done over the years, will agree that there could be no more deserving a winner.
A quick one for the coffin dodgers.
The World Masters Games will be held in Auckland New Zealand this year.
Paddling events in almost all disciplines, including marathon, slalom, canoe polo and sprints.
For more details check here.
If the Umko levels of last Sundays race are an indication of what can be expected this weekend, we are in for a humdinger.
The 50th running of this iconic race promises to be as competitive as ever, with the added attraction of a large number of new comers and “has beens” who have decided that they wish to be a small part of history.
For those who are doing the race for the first time, spare a thought for Charly Mason who is doing his 49th Umko.
We all await the first look at the book on the history of the Umko which has been written by Pete Swanepoel.
Books will be handed to paddlers who got their entry in early, and to larnies.
Until next week
Orange Descent established as the Northern Cape canoeing gem
As one of the major lifelines that runs through South Africa the Orange River provides paddlers with some of the best river racing conditions in the country and the newly installed Orange Descent is set to give paddlers from far and wide an opportunity to take in the excitement and hospitality of the Northern Cape between 29-30 April. Read the full story here.
Nation’s best show off at SA Sprint Champs
Olympic star Bridgitte Hartley ticked another vital box in her preparations for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro at the hugely successful South African Sprint Championships held at Shongweni dam outside Hillcrest on the weekend. Read the full story here.
Fitting finale for majestic 2016 Marine Series
The 2016 Varsity College FNB Marine Surfski Series came to an end on Friday evening with the Varsity College FNB South African Schools Surfski Championships taking centre stage as the Mark Keeling and Kyeta Purchase became national champions whilst Hank McGregor took the overall spoils in the series. Read the full story here.
African Sprint Championships
The African Sprint Championships take place at Shongweni Dam from 1-3 April and make sure that you up to speed in terms of selection criteria. Have a look at the selection document here if you are unsure.
SA Schools Sprint Championships
Shongweni Dam is the place to be this sprint season! They will play host to the SA Schools Sprint Champs from 22-24 March. All the information that you will need for the event can be found here.
KwaZulu-Natal Canoe Union
The Umkomaas Canoe Marathon rounds out the river season in KZN this weekend. See below on how to find out more about the race.
Eastern Cape Canoe Union
KING OF THE KROMME EASTER MONDAY 28 MARCH 2016 20km and 12km @ QUAYSYDE 10h00 More Info: Richard Arderne 0832840169
Pennypinchers Easter Surfski Challenge- Plettenberg Bay
Date 27th March 2016 Venue: Central Beach Plett Start: 9:30 Doubles, singles 10km and 20km R10 000 prize money for K1s.
“Round the Blinders Dash for Cash” – R6000 prize money 1 km sprint out and back- heats till 2 man final Start: 16:30 Entry Free- included in the morning races fee www.muddyfootadventures.co.za
Umkomaas Canoe Marathon
The Umko comes up soon on the 19-20 March! If you are keen to take part in the 50th edition of the race then head to their website here to find out more.
The Orange Descent
We are glad introduce the new Orange Descent an exiting new race on the Orange River from Upington to Kakamas. This two-day stage race stretching over 73km covers one of the most beautiful stretch of water our country has to offer. For more information on the race go and look here.
Proton- built by Popes
Looking for R4000 – boat is in good condition
Call John Conradie – 082 859 0940
2014 Velox Fusion
good condition for sale R4000.00 , Durban
contact Nigel 0839888460
Fenn Elite double surf ski
Based in Durban, but prepared to collect from anywhere
Contact Greg at 082 9417401
Looking for a Mirage.
Still in good enough condition for a seasons races leading up to dusi.
Please contact Kyle on 0827256727.
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