3,4, AND 5 APRIL 2015

Gauteng Canoe Union was certainly honoured to present this first crucial Olympic qualifying event – the South African sprint canoeing championships at Roodeplaat Dam over the Easter weekend from 3-5 April which did not only have pivotal importance to the best racers in the country, the honour was compounded by the inclusion of a team of elite sprinters from Singapore. With a stellar entry list that included 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Bridgitte Hartley the racing was expected to be of an extremely high competitive standard while Dusi Champ Andy Birkett also tried his hand at sprints – somewhat successfully!

It was also the first ever SA Sprint Championships to host C1 and C2 races and the first ever para canoeing SA race to boot and a great deal of thanks should go to the hosts of the event, Academy of Canoe Development with all the helpers highly appreciated – assisting in making this a world class event – especial thanks to the timekeepers – Mark and Louise Shuter – a great job done by all and putting GCU on the map!


PHOTOS thanks to Christal Jacobs are loaded on to the Academy’s facebook page so DO enjoy them – HERE and HERE!

Christal also provided us with a brief sketch of the highlights of the races –

The first day’s 1000m racing had perfect weather conditions calm, with no wind and the Singapore team participated enthusiastically however it was Andy Birkett who won the men’s race, although he and partner Bryan le Roux were disqualified for an underweight boat in the K2 event, where Dewald and Louis Hattingh won the gold.

The 500 m races on Saturday were not so lucky with a chilly side wind which did not dampen the paddlers spirits – and Corneli Lemmer with Njabulo Tshabalala on the first ever C2 women’s race in South Africa while Jonathan Wing took gold in the Men’s para canoe first ever event followed by Graham Paull. Esti van Tonder and Tiffany Kruger won the ladies K2 followed by Bridgette Hartley and Haley Arthur.

The third day of racing once again experienced perfect sprint racing conditions with very very fast and close competitive races and finishes with Bridgette Hartley taking gold in the 200m followed by Esti van Tonder. Chrisjan Coetzee won the men’s race and Donna Hatting best last year’s winner Kayla de Beer to take the girls Under 18 gold medal.

The Men’s K4 race was also very competitive with Calven Clack, Benjamin Biggs, Brent Chizzari and Gene Prato taking the gold… while the younger paddlers Eduan Dippenaar, Nicholas weeks, Lolo Fick and Gabriel van Wyk gave them a good run for their gold, finishing close behind to take silver.

At the medals ceremony where the Victor Ludorum and Victrix Ladorum points added up from the accumulated days racing, the top points achievers of the SA Sprint Champs held the following podium positions:

K1 Under 23 Men – Louis Hattingh, Dewald Hattingh and Gabriel Van Wyk in 1st, 2nd and 3rd while in the girls Kerry Segal, Brittany Petersen and Esti van Tonder were the top 3 winners.

C1 achievers Men Under 23 were Maema Phillemon and Seleka Hosea, while in the juniors, the top winners were Mathe Thulani and Donald Itumaleng.

Kayaking girls Under 18 Victrix winners were Donna Hutton tied with Asanda Ndlovu while Sneziwe Gxobole was 2nd, and the boys leaders were Jarryd Gibson, Ryno Van der Westhuizen, and Andreas Beukes.

Senior men who accumulated points for the Victor Ladorum were led by Andy Birkett, Louis Hattingh and Alasdair Glass, while the C1 Men winners were Calvin Mokoto, Radek Olzsewski and Phillemon Maema.

There were no surprises in the Victrix ladies with Bridgitte Hartley leading Esti Van Tonder and Tiffany Kruger, while the C1 ladies were once again Corneli Lemmer and Njabulo Tshabalala.

We wish all the sprinters the very best for their future qualifying races and hope that we will be watching most of them at the Olympics in due course – our hopes for SA Sprinters rest with these names and the full support of the SA canoeing fraternity is behind them!

Jennie Dallas


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