After the conclusion of the SA Canoe Marathon Championships in Cape Town on the weekend, Canoeing South Africa has named a twenty three strong squad for the ICF Canoe Marathon Championship to be held in Pitesti, Romania at the end of September.
The strong line-up of men and women across the senior, Under 23 and junior categories features a number of paddlers with substantial experience racing at world championships level, and sees one of the national championship stars Hamish Lovemore stepping up to race in the senior class.
The 21 year old Durban-based paddler raced his way to a full-house of gold medals on the weekend, winning the titles in the men’s Under 23 K1, the senior men’s K1 and the senior men’s K2 with eleven-times world marathon champion Hank McGregor.
Lovemore has opted to race in the senior ranks rather than his Under 23 age category, which means that there is no place for former world champion Andy Birkett, who finished third in the senior men’s K1 race, in the national team.
The second senior men’s K2 spot for the world championships was secured by Capetonians Kenny Rice and Uli Hart who held off Birkett and Nick Notten for the vital runners up berth.
From a women’s perspective Bridgitte Hartley, who won the senior women’s K1 short course and full marathon races, has opted to race the short course and K2 race with her partner Christie Mackenzie in Romania. The selectors have named Jenna Nisbet and Melanie van Niekerk for the women’s K1 marathon event.
Hartley and Mackenzie will join the pairing of Nisbet and teenager Saskia Hockly for the women’s K2 title decider.
With Lovemore racing as a senior with his MacSquad training partner McGregor, the Under 23 singles title in Pitetsi will be contested by Uli Hart and Alex Masina, while Christie Mackenzie will race with Kira Bester in the women’s Under 23 race at the world championships.
In the Under 18 division Matthew Millward pulled off the double at Zandvlei and will race in the K1 event in Romania with Josh Smith while he will team up with Jack Edmonds in the K2 race with Joshua Simpkins and Matthew Coetzer filling the other K2 spot.
Saskia Hockly and Tannah Smith will be the two Under 18 girls boats in the K1 race while the K2’s will feature Croeser and Georgina Howard as well as the combination of Valmajean Hockly and Tannah Smith.
The World Championships will take place in Pitești, Romania from 30 September to 3 October.
SOUTH AFRICAN MARATHON TEAM
WORLD MARATHON CHAMPIONSHIPS, PITETSI, ROMANIA
Junior Girls K1: Saskia Hockly, Tannah Smith
Junior Girls K2: Georgina Howard/Melonie Croeser, Valmajean Hockly/Tannah Smith
Junior Boys K1: Matthew Millward, Josh Smith
Junior Boys K2: Matthew Millward/Jack Edmonds, Joshua Simpkins/Matthew Coetzer
U23 Ladies K1: Christie Mackenzie, Kira Bester
U23 Men K1: Uli Hart, Alex Masina
Senior Ladies K1 – Short Course : Bridgitte Hartley, Kira Bester
Senior Ladies K1: Jenna Nisbet, Melanie Van Niekerk
Senior Ladies K2: Saskia Hockly/Jenna Nisbet, Christie Mackenzie/Bridgitte Hartley
Senior Mens K1 – Short Course: Nick Notten, Clinton Cook
Senior Mens K1: Hamish Lovemore, Hank McGregor
Senior Mens K2: Hamish Lovemore/Hank McGregor, Uli Hart/Kenny Rice