After the record-breaking South African flatwater marathon championships held at Camps Drift in Pietermaritzburg on the weekend, Canoeing South Africa has announced a team of 73 boats to compete at the ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships and Masters Cup events at the same Camps Drift venue from 4 to 12 September.
With all the fancied paddlers securing their berths in the team by virtue of finishing first or second in the national championship races that doubled as the one-off trial for the worlds, the South African team is exceptionally strong, and features several World Championship title holders and medallists.
The senior men who grabbed four medals at last year’s world title decider at Brandenberg in Germany are all back, albeit with some changes to the K2 crews.
Hank McGregor and Andy Birkett, who bagged the historic 1-2 for South Africa last year have retained their places in the men’s K1 team, and will both also feature in the K2 team as well.
McGregor will set out to defend his K2 title with his Cape-based partner Jasper Mocké, after winning the national title on the weekend.
Andy Birkett however, will be racing with classy schoolboy Jean van der Westhuyzen, the winner of the junior world title with Louis Hattingh two years ago.
Hattingh has been sidelined by an injury to his left hand suffered during a mishap while woodworking and will not be able to partner Birkett, with whom he won a bronze medal in Germany last year.
Jenna Ward will also have a new partner in her boat, after sensationally winning silver with young Kyeta Purchase in women’s K2 while both being under 23 years of age.
Ward and her training partner Nikki Russell were sublime in their victory in the women’s K2 title decider in at Camps Drift on the weekend and will take a lot of confidence into the worlds next month.
Purchase will be racing the Women’s Under 23 K1 race with Kerry Segal.
Daveyton raised Alex Masina was the surprise package in the juniors boys trial, winning the national title emphatically. The teenager, who is now based in Pietermaritzburg to further his canoeing training, was desperately unlucky not to secure a K2 place in the team with the on-form Stewart Little after they broke the rudder off their boat during the Boy’s K2 race.
The large South African team includes K1 and K2 craft for the two day Masters Cup that precedes the World Championships, where the Veteran and Masters classes traditionally see a very strong medal haul by South African paddlers.
JUNIOR GIRLS : Christie Mackenzie, Caitlin Mackenzie
WOMEN U23 : Kyeta Purchase, Kerry Segal
WOMEN SENIOR : Bridgitte Hartley, Melanie Van Niekerk
JUNIOR BOYS : Alex Masina, Ulvard Hart
MEN U23 : Jean Van Der Westhuyzen, Nicholas Notten
MEN SENIOR : Andy Birkett, Hank McGregor
JUNIOR GIRLS : Christie Mackenzie/Sabina Lawrie, Amy Peckett/Caitlin Mackenzie
WOMEN SENIOR : Jenna Ward/Nikki Russell, Hayley Nixon/Michelle Burn
JUNIOR BOYS : Callam Davis/Hamish Lovemore, David Evans/Hamish Mackenzie
MEN SENIOR : Hank McGregor/Jasper Mocke, Andy Birkett/Jean Van Der Westhuyzen
SA MASTERS CUP TEAM
MASTER CLASS WOMEN
SUB VETERANS : Melissa Van Rooyen, Debbie Gillet
VETERANS : Marion Young, Megan Kelly
SUB MASTERS : Mandy Hoddinott, Anna Clifford Arwidi
MASTERS : Lis Hart, Robyn Henderson
SUB GRAND MASTERS : Liz Russell, Hilde Lapere
GRAND MASTERS : Beth Burton, Minnie Kretzschmar
MASTER CLASS MEN
SUB VETERANS : Wayne Jacobs, Ant Stott
VETERANS : Jacques Theron, Piers Cruickshanks
SUB MASTERS : Graeme Solomon, Lee McGregor
MASTERS : Rob Hart, Bruce Pender-Smith
SUB GRAND MASTERS : Colin Wilson, Hennie Roos
GRAND MASTERS : Mat Carlisle, Theo Smit
SUB GREAT GRAND MASTERS : Allan Hold, Rob Maclean
SUB GREAT GREAT GRAND MASTERS : Willem Deyzel
MASTER CLASS WOMEN
SUB VETERANS : Melissa Van Rooyen/Nicky Irvine, Lyn Bennett/Debbie Gillet
VETERANS : Kim Peek/Marion Young
SUB MASTERS : Robyn Henderson/Mandy Hoddinott, Lisa Scott/Lis Hart
MASTERS : Merrill King/Sonja Bohnsack, Sylvia Nel/Katarzyna Lapacz
SUB GRAND MASTERS : Beth Burton/Liz Russell, Solly Peckett/Sharlene Mcgilvray
GRAND MASTERS : Minnie Kretzschmar/Carrol Evans, Cally Henderson/Jacquie Button
MASTER CLASS MEN
SUB VETERANS : Matt Gunning/Alex Roberts, Willem Landman/Elton Du Preez
VETERANS : Kelvin Herman/Duncan Boyd, Daan Du Toit/Hennie Du Plooy
SUB MASTERS : Gustav Smook/Michael Stewart, Stuart Roberts/Mike Stevens
MASTERS : Rob Hart/Garth Watters, Bruce Pender-Smith/Eric ildebrandt
SUB GRAND MASTERS : Bruce Wenke/Linton Hope, Theo Smit/Ronald Pronk
GRAND MASTERS : Chris Visser/Mat Carlisle, Markus Burri/Rob Welsh
SUB GREAT GRAND MASTERS : Allan Hold/Geoff Thompson, Andre Hawarden/Rob Maclean