A mix of first-timers and seasoned international paddlers will represent South Africa at the upcoming ICF Junior and Under 23 Canoe Sprint World Championships in Pitesti, Romania from 1-4 August.
The team will include four paddlers returning from last year’s World Championships but will also feature a handful of paddlers that have taken part in World Championships before, including Louis Hattingh, Jarryd Gibson and Kayla de Beer.
There will be two newcomers to World Championship competition in the form of Cayleigh Shaw and Sean van Pletzen. Both paddlers will be racing in the K1 200 metres for girls and boys respectively.
Of the returning paddlers there is a strong sense of anticipation following the performances that they produced last year.
Jordy Malherbe will be back to take part in the junior boys 500m and 1000m K1 races. At last year’s World Championships in Bulgaria he made two B Finals where he finished third in the 1000m final.
With an extra year’s worth of experience under his belt the expectation is on Malherbe to build on his 2018 performance this week.
Another strong performer from 12 months ago was Donna Hutton. Hutton has shown promise from a young age and last year at the World Championships she finished the competition with an eighth and a second in the 200m K1 and 500m K1 B Finals respectively, and will be looking to build on those results in 2019, pushing for an A final this year in the K1 500m event.
Hutton will also have the senior world championships in the back of her mind. She will team up with sprint queen Bridgitte Hartley for the women’s K2 200m and 500m.
Making a long-awaited return to World Championship sprint paddling is Louis Hattingh. Following a horrific hand injury a few years ago it has been a long road back to international competition for Hattingh and he will be looking to impress at the world championships.
The Pietermaritzburg-based paddler will be racing in the Under 23 K1 1000m race and then will join up with Jarryd Gibson for the Under 23 K2 1000m event.
Hattingh will also be representing South Africa at the senior World Championships in Hungary in three weeks, then jet off to the Africa Games in Rabat a week later before taking his place in the South African team for the ICF Canoe Marathon World Championship in China in October.
Gibson will also race in his single sprint boat in Pitesti, taking on the Under 23 K1 500m event.
Hattingh and Gibson will also be racing the K2 1000m at the senior world championships in Szeged towards the end of the month.
Kayla de Beer, who is also no stranger to the international stage, will be contesting the Under 23 Women’s K1 200m heats.
Also taking on the K1 200m will be David Rodrigues.
Young Jackie van der Westuysen returns for her second World Championships in as many years and will be racing in the junior K1 500m race.
South African Team for ICF Junior & Under 23 Canoe Sprint World Championships – Pitsesti, Romania
Jordy Malherbe (Junior K1 500m/1000m), Jackie van der Westhuysen (Junior K1 500m), Sean van Pletzen (Junior K1 200m), Cayleigh Shaw (Junior K1 200m), Louis Hattingh (Under 23 K1 1000m/Under 23 K2 1000m), Jarryd Gibson (Under 23 K1 500m/Under 23 K2 1000m), David Rodrigues (Under 23 K1 200m), Kayla de Beer (Under 23 K1 200m), Donna Hutton (Under 23 K1 500m).