The two-paddler team of Kwanda Mzolo and Nosipho Mthembu returned from the African Beach Games in Tunisia with a 100% strike-rate on the medal front as they bagged a gold and a silver in the men’s and women’s surfski races respectively.
The event, in its second year, provided some valuable international racing experience for Mzolo and Mthembu despite the fact the latter has represented South Africa before on the continental stage.
Mzolo, who is representing South Africa at the ICF Junior and Under 23 Sprint World Championships in Italy at the moment, showed that continental competition is a step to bigger things with a memorable gold medal.
For Mthembu, unfortunately it didn’t go all her way in the race but over the 3km’s she managed to put in a good effort to claim the silver behind Algeria.
“The racing was challenging, and it didn’t go according to plan for me, and I really wanted to win that gold medal,” Mthembu said.
“I had a few problems during the race and couldn’t catch the Algerian paddler, but it was a really good experience and it was an honour to represent my country.
“It’s disappointing to not win gold and hear another country’s anthem playing when you are standing on the podium.”
All paddlers paddled in the same style boat which levelled the playing field for the race and with it being a 3km shoot-out it was a sprint for the line.
“We’re proud to have more paddlers representing South Africa on an international stage,” President of Canoeing South Africa Kim Pople said.
“To be able to enter two paddlers and for both to win medals is encouraging for us as a federation going forward.
“Paddling continues to punch above its weight internationally and we hope to continue to produce paddlers that can win medals worldwide.”