Adie set to make her mark in Drak Challenge

2011-01-14 00:00

UNDERBERG – Howick canoeist Abby Adie is determined to cement her status as one of the best female paddlers in the country by defending her title in the Global Trader Drak Challenge next weekend.

However the eager 21-year-old is battling to adapt her training after the juggling of the national canoeing calendar.

With the Drak effectively swapping places with the Dusi, Adie now finds herself torn between training to peak for the Drak, a race she loves, and the demands of running and paddling training for the lucrative Dusi a month later.

“To be honest I so enjoy the Drak and feel it’s such a great event that I would love to be able to focus entirely on the build-up to it,” said Adie “ Now, with the switch in dates, I haven’t been able to spend as much time on getting ready for Drak as I would’ve liked to because I also have to spend my time training for the Dusi.”

“My paddling isn’t quite where I want it to be for the Drak because of the different training, but I feel good at the moment. I’m injury free and hopefully I’ll get there before next weekend,” she added.

Adie hit the headlines last year when she won the Drak women’s title in an impressive display, downing former champ and fellow Epworth product Robyn Kime as well as Michele Eder to claim the title.

While Kime has confirmed that she will be on the start line for the big race starting on Saturday, January 22, the absence of Eastern Cape Olympian and former Drak champ Michele Eray sets up an intriguing scrap for the women’s title.

“Robyn is a very talented paddler and she is a big threat to me being able to defend my title,” Adie admitted.

“Obviously if we get away together then we’ll look to work together, but Robyn’s not the only one. Hillary [Pitchford] is very good on the river.”

Adie will also start the race alongside her twin sister, Alex, who will be racing in the colours of Rhodes University, and who has also been training hard for the event.

Twenty-one-year-old Abby has so far managed to avoid the pressure commonly associated with being the defending champion. “I’m just taking things as I always do and preparing mentally as usual. Being defending champ I haven’t felt any added pressure yet. Maybe on the day things will change slightly but I haven’t felt any yet,” she said.

“It’s such a wonderful event,” she enthused. “The river is clean and the rapids are always such a highlight for me.”

Adie also highlighted another factor that is commonly identified by the elite racers. The highly competitive race is somehow raced in a relaxed atmosphere.

“It’s such good fun! Whilst its extremely competitive on the water, it’s a race, but it’s not a race at the same time,” said Adie.

The women’s champion will be honoured with the brand new Margie Oliver trophy, in honour of the administrator, timekeeper and “mother of canoeing” who passed away suddenly last month.

The Drak Challenge takes place in Underberg on January 22 and 23.

More information can be found at www.drak.co.za.

— Own Correspondent.

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