The South African marathon canoeists will be on their way to Shaoxing, China this week as they set their sights on another big medal haul at the 2019 ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships next week.
Interestingly, it will be the first time that many of the paddlers will be racing in China as marathon racing makes its global debut in the Far East which might level the playing field as the unknown will play a large part in the contest from 17-20 October.
South Africa will be going to the showdown with arguably one of its strongest sides as the team look to dominate the senior division. Christie Mackenzie and Bridgitte Hartley won the national championships earlier this year against former world championship silver medallists Jenna Ward and Kyeta Purchase, will be medal hopefuls.
Former age group K1 medallist Ward and Hartley will be hoping to win South Africa’s first ever senior women’s K1 medal this year. Hartley has had a frantic year and her best result internationally was a fourth in 5000m K1 race at the Sprint World Championships in Szeged a few months ago.
Mackenzie Eager to Repeat Medal Winning Feats
In the under 23 division Mackenzie will be hoping to repeat her medal winning feats of two years ago – although she was racing in the junior division on home turf on that occasion. Purchase and Mackenzie will be the two paddlers doing the business in the under 23 women’s race.
With no under 23 K2 races, Mackenzie and Purchase will all be racing in the senior division at this year’s championships. In the junior division the South African team will be hoping to continue the legacy of strong junior performances at the World Championships. Amy Peckett will also be returning for another shot at the junior girls K1 podium along with debutant Nosipho Mthembu.
In the junior K2 showdowns Mackenzie will team up with David Evans as they plan to make it a hat-trick of medals with silver and a bronze to their names in the last two years. In the junior girls race Peckett and Mthembu will form one of the doubles combinations while two more World Championship debutants Georgina Howard and Melonie Croser will make up the other K2 partnership.
The racing will be preceded by the annual Masters Cup that stages K1 and K2 races for veteran and masters age group paddlers.
Team South Africa has a strong tradition of dominating this precursor to the World Championships, but with a smaller contingent of age-group paddlers making the trip to China, they will have to rely on quality of medals more than quantity this year.
For more information visit www.canoesa.org.za
Team South Africa – ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships, Shaoxing China:
Christie Mackenzie/Bridgitte Hartley
Jenna Ward/Kyeta Purchase
Amy Peckett/Nosipho Mthembu
Georgina Howard/Melonie Croeser
Photo 1 Caption: Jenna Ward will be hoping to become the first South African woman to win a K1 senior medal at the upcoming ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships in China next week. Photo: Cam Hudson/Gameplan Media
With editing by gsport