The 2022 SA Schools Sprint Championship as well as the senior SA Sprint Canoeing Championships get the national season underway at Lomond Dam outside Gansbaai in the Western Cape from 23-25 April.
The event will play a crucial role in selecting paddlers that will be representing South Africa at the various international events throughout the winter with the ICF Canoe Sprint World Champions, ICF Junior and Under 23 World Championships as well as the Olympic Hopes Regatta and the ICF Canoe Sprint World Cups being the focus.
Paddlers looking to gain selection for the national team will have to compete at the national championships which points to a strong field across all age groups as paddlers eye spots with the Olympic cycle taking centre stage.
“Given the number of nomination forms that we received we are expecting a good field of paddlers this weekend,” President of Canoeing South Africa Kim Pople said.
“To see such a big interest in sprint paddling is fantastic and given our focus on the discipline with the Olympic qualification coming up next year we are encouraged by the amount of entries we have received.
“It’s going to be a competitive three days of racing across all age groups and to have it staged at a beautiful venue like Lomond Dam makes it even better.”
From a senior perspective the established sprinters like Esti Olivier, Chrisjan Coetzee and Bridgitte Harley have all put their names forward for national selection this weekend while seasoned surfski and marathon paddler Kenny Rice has also put his name forward.
Callam Davis, Alex Masina, Sam Butcher, Kira Bester and Jade Wilson are also names that have nominated themselves for national selection should they produce the results this week which shows an encouraging interest in the sprint discipline.
The SA Schools Sprint Championships is a big focus for the weekend as paddlers from around the country fight it out for national honours and for Pople it’s crucial that they give the juniors the best opportunity to succeed.
“We have always seen the SA Schools Sprint Championships as a crucial stepping stone for the next generation of paddlers and it’s important that we keep an eye out for the next batch of talented sprinters.
“There is always a strong entry from across the country and we are expecting another good entry from the junior age groups for this weekend’s racing,” she added.