A Fish for McGregor?

2014-09-17 00:00

CRADOCK — Triple world champion Hank McGregor has his sights set on winning the Hansa Fish River Canoe Marathon K1 title on October 10 and 11, a title that has somehow eluded the most successful river paddler this country has produced.

McGregor will first have to fly to Oklahoma City to defend his K1 World crown before returning home to prepare for the Fish two weeks later with it clear he places massive importance on adding the Fish K1 crown to his illustrious CV.

“I am super-excited for the Fish this year. This K1 title has been in the back of my mind for a while now. I have arranged a really competitive boat for the race, so this might be my year,” said McGregor.

“You know what you are going to get at Marathon Worlds. It’s like a bunch of gladiators being thrown into a pit together. But at the Fish, you never know what is going to happen, which makes it really exciting.

McGregor has won five back-to-back Hansa Fish K2 titles – one with K1 “Fisher King” Len Jenkins and four with fellow K2 defending champ Grant van der Walt — but has yet to have his name engraved on the K1 trophy.

Two years ago McGregor was locked in a ferocious tussle with Jenkins and looked to be in a position to finally end his string of second places in the K1 race. The pair shot the daunting Cradock Weir dangerously side by side and Jenkins managed to get a slim lead to race away to claim the title.

“That was my best chance ever to win and it turned out to be my closest loss,” recalls McGregor. “I felt I had it in the bag, but a lapse in concentration cost me big time.”

He will start as the hot favourite to end that run of bridesmaid placings in the K1 race, particularly as defending K1 champ Jenkins has taken time off from paddling and is unlikely to be a factor in the title race this year.

“I would prefer it if Len was there and in good shape, because you want to win the Fish against a field of all the best guys in the country,” he admitted.

McGregor will spearhead the South African challenge at the ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships in the U.S. on September 27 and 28 before jetting home for the Fish title challenge and is determined to minimise the impact of the long distance travel.

“As I have grown older I have become better at travelling,” said McGregor. “I get sick less and that makes it more feasible to get back in good shape for the Fish.”

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