The extra long school league race took place in mid winter just before the winter solstice with extra long distances as young paddlers have trained for months first for sprints, then for GCU and SA Marathons and were ready for a real challenge!

Under 8 boys were led in their 3km race by Pieter van Niekerk  from Kruin Park Laerskool / Sasol klub, while Divan Bornman from H F Verwoerd Parys Likkewaan klub was stuck on shallow rocks and weeds in a narrow channel near Die Ottergat eiland because he did not listen to the marshall directing him – he was determined to do what sy sussie vir hom gese het, while the marshall had to climb on a tree trunk, and wade through the icy water to pull his boat out of the sloot where he was stuck in the reeds, but the only worry young Bornman had was that he would not win his race…..however he came in 2nd place despite his challenge, while Matthew Cole from St Davids finished  in 3rd place.

Anja Bornman (HF Verwoerd / Parys / Likkewaan KK) made no errors manouvering around Die Ottergat eiland and finished first in the Under 10 girls, with a major jump to 6km race, with Ameerah Hank (FLCC – Curro Auroro) finishing in 2nd.  In the under 10 boys race the usual suspects took 1st, 2nd and 3rd with Chentin Mienie,  and Lyton Oelofse (HF Verwoerd/Parys/Lik KK) and Nicholas Erwee (St Davids/Dabs), though we salute young Davy Brown who had a swim in the river and needed to be towed to the side by which time he was ice blocked, and very bravely finished his race with much disappointment in his little face…..

Sisanda Mthabela was the only Under 12 female at the race which was also 6km, and took home the gold,  – FLCC – Laerskool General Christian De Wet……while the boys battled it out with mtthew van der merwe finishing first (Charter House / FLCC), followed by St Davids Connor Erwee and Simon Henson (Dabs)

In the  9.5 km Under 14 race, Megan Oelofse finished first (Hoerskool Parys / Lik KK) with Jaemi Welsch 2nd (VLC / St Catherines), and the boys was led by Wian Bornman (Hoerskool Parys / Lik KK) followed by Soweto’s Zanenhlanhla Mbala, (Inkwenkwezi Primary / SCARC), with Benjamin Mntonitshi in 3rd (SCARC /  Lukholweni High Primary)…..

The 9.5 km Under 16 girls race was easily won by Caroline van der Linde with only the boys to compete against as she chased the Under 16 male winner Jonathan Jooste to the finish line, (both Hoerskool Parys / Lik KK) with JCC’s Alex Masina finishing the main race to earn equal points, and  SCARC’s Sibusiso Chwayi (Musi High school) and Onke Lona Magadla (Nkonkhwezi Higher) tying for 2nd place where Chwayi finished the main 25km race, while Tristan Trican (FLCC /Seekers   )  took the 3rd place medal.

Sneziwe Gxobole was the only Under 18 girl to participate in the 12km marathon race distance (Scarc / Bopasenatle High School) and won the gold while Khaliphile Nquku (Bona High / Scarc) was the first finisher in the boys race, and Peter Chissano finished the main 25km race, to earn points for 1st place, and in the school league race Xolisa Gxobole (Thaba Jabula / SCARC) earned points  for 2nd place in the school league event, while Leonard Geldenhuys (Homeschooled) also finished the main race and in third position for the school league event, was Moses Nghomane (FLCC / Ztada Soweto High ).

It was a smaller field than usual which is normal during winter and the school league will break now for the July chill and holidays, and convene again for the next race in Germiston, in August….!

Jennie Dallas

for GCU PR

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