As the South African contingent return from the ICF Junior & Under Sprint World Championships in Portugal, there were many positives to take from the experience as Canoeing South Africa looks to the future of the discipline.
The team of five featured in their first ever World Championship event following two years during which time no international competition was possible.
“This championship was a great opportunity for our youngest paddlers to race on an international stage against the best in the world,” President of Canoeing South Africa Kim Pople said.
“Missing two years of international competition is a long time and it was fantastic to get back and see where we are and gauge where we are internationally.”
Callam Davis finished the competition with a C Final in both the 1000m and 500m K1 events while Helen Jansen van Vuuren ended ninth in the Junior 1000m K1 B Final.
Heading into the future there is a plan in place and Pople wants to see the South African teams focus more on team boats.
“We want to drive home the importance of team boats going forward and we are really going to put a lot of stress on that in the next two years as we focus on what’s to come.
“It was a great effort from the team. They gave it their all in very difficult conditions; it was really hot and windy but I am very proud of the team and they were fantastic ambassadors for our country.
“During Covid times it was not easy with four PCR tests in one week and having to have a test right after finishing your race so the way the team handled all of this was brilliant and we really look forward to the next twelve months.”
Two of the paddlers who were part of the South African team will remain in Europe for the Olympic Hopes Regatta starting this weekend in Racice, Czech Republic.
The two Under 17 stars Finlay Leask and Helen Jansen van Vuuren will join up with the other fourteen members of the team.