Auronzo, Italy – A tough week of racing in the World Under 23 and Junior Sprint Canoeing Championships in Italy yielded a pair of B finals as the highlights for the South African team last week.
The squad of 10 paddlers learned plenty of valuable lessons in the scenic northern Italian town of Auronzo, with two boats – one K1 and one K2 – reaching B finals and one K1 getting into a C Final, while three more K2 crews and two K1 paddlers also reached the semi-finals.
U23 Helen Jansen van Vuuren’s eighth position in the Women’s 1 000m B Final was the top result in a single, while juniors Jordan Klopper and Caitlyn Evans finished sixth in the mixed 500m K2 B Final. Another highlight was Klopper’s fourth place in the C Final for the extremely competitive 500m K1.
The K2s that earned places in the semi-finals were Kwanda Mzolo and Sandile Mtolo in the U23 1 000, Theo Dreyer and Daniel Smit in the Junior 1 000m, and Amy Duffett and Kerry Smit in the Junior 500m. In K1s, Duffett and Evans also progressed through the heats and into the semis in the 200m and 1 000m respectively.
In the mass start 5 000m events on the final day, where all entrants are drawn straight to the finals, junior Dreyer was the top paddler when he ended the champs by finishing an impressive 13th in a big field of 36 starters.
Team manger and Canoeing SA President Kim Pople was excited about the potential for future successes that emerged from the Italian regatta, particularly the paddlers who went to the Olympic Hopes event in 2022.
“For me one of the performances of the week was Jordan Klopper finishing fourth in the C Final in the 500 K1, which bodes well for him in the future as this was his first World Champs.
“What was really great was seeing the Olympic Hope kids that came through to this World Champs after competing in the Olympic Hopes event, proving that the pathway is definitely there and it is working.
“There were some interesting innovations this year at the World Champs. We tried the mixed relays for the first time, and the five kays with portages proved difficult with sprint boats and no pumps, as opposed to marathon boats.
“Overall I think there were a lot of good positive performances from the team and that needs to be the takeaway from this. They are learning what the international level is and what we need now is for the kids to go back and work with their coaches as they look forward to Bulgaria for next year’s World Champs.”
K1 U23 Women 200 – 9th Heat
Helen Jansen van Vuuren
K1 U23 Women 500 – 8th Heat
K1 U23 Women 1000 – 8th B Final
K1 U23 Women 5000 – 15th Final
K1 U23 Men 5000 – 23rd Final
K1 Jun Men 5000 – 13th Final
K1 Jun Women 200 – 9th Semi
K1 Jun Women 5000 – 16th Final
K1 Jun Women 1000 – 9th Semi
K1 Jun Women 500 – 7th Heat
K1 Jun Men 500 – 4th C Final
Alexa Godden & Kwanda Mzolo
K2 U23 Mix 500 – DQ Heat
Kwanda Mzolo & Sandile Mtolo
K2 U23 Men 1000 – 9th Semi
K2 U23 Men 500 – 9th Heat
Alexa Godden & Sandile Mtolo
K1 U23 Mix Relay 5000 – 13th Final
Theo Dreyer & Daniel Smit
K2 Jun Men 1000 – 9th Semi
K2 Jun Men 500 – 6th Heat
Amy Duffett & Kerry Elliott
K2 Jun Women 500 – 9th Semi
Caitlyn Evans & Jordan Klopper
K2 Jun Mix 500 – 6th B Final
Daniel Smit & Kerry Elliott
K1 Jun Mix Relay 5000 – 12th Final