Defending K2 champion Abby Adie has secured the services of classy Czech Republic star Anna Adamová, forming a formidable K2 combination that will post a strong challenge for the overall women’s honours at the Hansa Fish River Canoe Marathon which takes place on 27 and 28 September.
Established river racing star Adie is eager the defend the K2 title that she won with partner Hilary Pitchford two years ago and to add to two previous visits to the Hansa Fish women’s podiums.
For Adamová, paddling with Adie is a dream come true and an experience the Czech star will look to take in every moment of whilst she shares a boat with the vastly accomplished river marathoner whom she holds in very high esteem.
“We agreed to paddle together 2 months ago after Abby (Adie) initiated the forming of our combination,” explained an excited Adamová from the Czech Republic. “I wouldn’t dare ask her to be my partner, because she is one of the most experienced and I conversely!” she chuckled.
Despite being far more comfortable on flatwater, Adamová is no stranger to South African rivers having spent some time in the country in 2012 and earlier this year, where she competed in the 2012 Hansa Fish, 2013 Dusi and 2013 Non Stop Dusi.
This year’s Fish will however be a far greater test than any of her previous assignments as she, together with Adie, gears up to be a serious women’s title contender whilst also enjoying her time on another South African river.
“I raced at last year’s Hansa Fish Marathon and when I left South Africa in March this year I was already planning to return for the Fish!” said Adamová. “Last year’s Fish was my first big experience of white water – with rapids and weirs and even though training was difficult for me, the race was perfect and a really I enjoyed it!
“It’s a tough to know what sort of result to aim for this year,” she added. “I definitely don’t want to disappoint Abby though so I really hope we’ll be in the top three.”
Adie, having hung up her paddles for four months after this year’s Umkomaas River Marathon, is relishing being back in the boat and looking forward to working with Adamová during the Eastern Cape clash in a little over a week’s time.
“I’ve just come back from a bit of a break from paddling so it’s taken me a little while but I’m happy with where I am now,” said Adie. “I paddled the Tugela 20’s with my brother Andrew a few weeks ago as a mixed double and it was great to be back on the river and nice to get some distance under the belt.”
“Anna (Adamová) was out this last season racing the Dusi etc. and is very keen to race Fish with me just as I am excited to race with her. I think it will be something new and a great experience,” she added.
As will many of the top local competitors, Adamová will under added time pressure though as she looks to make her way from the World Marathon Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark to Cradock in time to prepare for the Hansa Fish showdown.
The short turnaround time and lengthy travel isn’t something that either member of the fresh combination are overly worried about though. “I don’t think that World Marathon Champs and then the travel to South Africa will have too much of an impact on our result. I’ll try to sleep a lot during my travel!” explained Adamová.
“Anna will be racing at Worlds the weekend before so will be flying straight from there to the Fish but so too will many of the South Africans so it shouldn’t affect us too much,” added Adie.
With the likes of Olympic bronze medalist Bridgette Hartley and South African female paddling star Robyn Kime, surfski aces Michelle Burn and Danica Bartho and now Adie and Adamová all eager to claim this year’s Hansa Fish spoils, the women’s encounter is shaping to be a mouth-watering affair.
The Hansa Fish River Canoe marathon takes place on Friday 27 and Saturday 28 September. More information can be found at www.fishmarathon.org.za
(With editing by gsport)