Team South Africa finished the 2021 ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships with four bronze medals as the pair of Jenna Nisbet and Saskia Hockly ended third in the Senior Women’s K2 race on Sunday.
In the senior women’s K2 race Nisbet and Hockly produced a strong performance as they kept themselves in the hunt for a gold medal all the way to the final sprint to the line, however the Hungarian pair and the Spanish pair were too strong for them.
It was another K2 medal for Nisbet and first for Hockly in her first World Championship, to go with the bronze that she won in the Junior Women K1 race earlier in the competition.
“It’s been really good being able to share my knowledge with Saskia over the last two years and she is just so strong,” Nisbet said. “To have a partner that is young and fit and healthy is great!
“I loved racing with Saskia today. She was cool, calm and strong at the back of the boat and did everything that she needed to do.
“There were some really tough boats out there today and we started on the left so knew that we needed a good start.
“The first two laps were proper and we just had to do our best to stay on the wave and stay calm because we knew the pace was going to drop down which it did any luckily we were in the group of three already by then.
“It’s so awesome to be racing internationally again and even better to come away with a medal!”
For the young Hockly being able to learn from someone with Nisbet’s experience has been invaluable and two medals was beyond her comprehension going into the championships.
“I never ever thought that I would have this opportunity ever so to be here with my power partner and to pull off the result is incredible and I’m very happy,” Hockly said.
Christie Mackenzie and Bridgitte Hartley finished in fifth in the K2 showdown.
In the Senior Men’s race the pair of Hank McGregor and Hamish Lovemore were in the hunt for the majority of the race however the last full lap saw them fall off the pace of the front bunch and ended up settling for sixth overall.
Uli Hart and Kenny Rice were the other pair in the senior men’s race and they finished in ninth just over three minutes behind the race winners.
One of the major disappointments for Team South Africa was the Junior Men’s race where both K2 combinations suffered at the hands of either a mechanical issue or a mistake.
The race became difficult for the Matthew Millward and Jack Edmonds combination after they had paddle issues early in the race which forced them to expend a lot more energy to remain with the front bunch.
Disappointment was the theme of the race as the crew of Josh Simpkins and Matthew Coetzer, who were well in medal contention right up to the final put-in, tried to set off on the short lap they missed a stroke and fell out of their boat.
The swim cost them any chance of a medal as the chasing boats went past them on the final short lap.
Team South Africa had to settle for tenth and thirteenth overall with Millward/Edmonds finishing ahead of Simpkins and Coetzer.
Speaking after the race, Coetzer was philosophical about the incident that ended their run for a medal.
“When you are that tired things like that happen,” a disappointed Coetzer said. “We are going to have to learn from it going forward and there is always next time for us.”
The pair will be back racing in the junior category again in 2022 which bodes well for Team South Africa going forward.
Given the two year absence from international competition Team South Africa produced an improved effort from their last marathon world championships when the team only returned one medal.
SUMMARY OF RESULTS – ICF CANOE MARATHON WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Junior Men’s K2
1. Csanad Sellyei/Bruno Kolozsvari (HUN) 1:35:05
2. Nikolaj Bryde/Jeppe Maretti (DEN) 1:35:12
3. Baltazar Itria/Franco Marchetti (ARG) 1:35:19
10. Matthew Millward/Jack Edmonds (RSA) 1:36:34
13. Joshua Simpkins/Matthew Coetzer (RSA) 1:38:27
Senior Women’s K2
1. Emese Kohalmi/Eszter Rendessy (HUN) 1:55:07
2. Tania Fernandez/Tania Alvarez (ESP) 1:55:12
3. Jenna Nisbet/Saskia Hockly (RSA) 1:55:21
5. Christie Mackenzie/Bridgitte Hartley (RSA) 1:56:15
Senior Men’s K2
1. Quentin Urban/Jeremy Chardy (FRA) 1:59:03
2. Adrian Boros/Tamas Erdelyi (HUN) 1:59:04
3. Cyrille Carre/Stephane Boulanger (FRA) 1:59:04
6. Hank McGregor/Hamish Lovemore (RSA) 2:00:32
9. Uli Hart/Kenny Rice (RSA) 2:02:40