Esti Olivier and Tiffany Koch On the Journey from Hungary to Paris

Esti Olivier (née Van Tonder) (right) and Tiffany Koch (née Kruger) resurrected a partnership from eight years ago to earn selection for the SA Canoe team to go to the Paris Olympics. Photo: Canoeing SA / Gameplan Media

South Africa’s Olympic canoeists get a taste of what lies ahead this weekend as they take the next paddle strokes on their journey to Paris 2024 at the first World Cup event of the year in Szeged, Hungary.

South Africa has a combined team of seven paddlers at the regatta, but all eyes will be on the fairytale women’s duo of Esti Olivier and Tiffany Koch, a combination that will be competing in the 500m K2 race after they earned their place in the SA team for the Olympics at the national championships last month.

Olivier and Koch will be the first South Africans in action this weekend when they take to the water in their heats early on Friday afternoon, with the semi-finals taking place later on Friday, ahead of the finals on Saturday afternoon.

This is the start of the crew’s intensive build up to the highlight of the 2024 racing season, when they will line up to represent South Africa at the Olympic regatta in August.

The 2024 Olympics is a story of unfinished business. Koch (née Kruger) paddled in the 2012 Olympics in London, but then the duo missed out on qualifying for Rio 2016 and Koch retired from international competition.

Olivier doggedly struggled on and just failed to earn selection for Tokyo, but persuaded Koch out of retirement for the selection event earlier this year, and their resurrection as a crew and subsequent qualification is something of a fairytale.

Late on Saturday afternoon, Olivier and Koch who will split up for the 500m K1 event, and both will also be looking to qualify for the 5 000m K1 race semi-finals and finals on Sunday morning, to wrap up the regatta.


Original Copy: Canoeing South Africa, with editing by gsport

Photo Caption: Esti Olivier (right) and Tiffany Koch resurrected a partnership from eight years ago to earn selection for the SA Canoe team to go to the Paris Olympics. Photo: Canoeing SA / Gameplan Media

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