Clarens development paddlers surprise at national slalom canoeing champs in PmB

2012-04-20 00:00

THE national slalom canoeing championships, held at the moto-cross weir on the Msunduzi in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday, provided a testing yet manageable course for the experienced and junior paddlers competing.

The men competed in three classes: K1, using a double-bladed paddle; C1, using a single-bladed paddle and C2 which is a double canoe with single-bladed paddles.

In the C1 class, paddlers from Clarens in the Free State dominated with Cyprian Ngidi pulling off the surprise of the event by beating Olympic athlete Master Cele into second place. Cele finished second in the All Africa Slalom Championships recently and gained a place in the London Olympics.

The K1 class was won predictably by Maritzburg College schoolboy Donovan Wewege. He finished sixth in the junior World Championships last year and is still in the U18 category, so is expected to do better in the junior worlds in Wisconsin in July. He was little more than a second ahead of Success Mahlaba of the Free State. Mahlaba touched two poles as he negotiated the course and this added four seconds to his time.

Iain Rennie, who has been a top slalom paddler for so long that at 23, he is viewed as a veteran, finished in third place less than two seconds behind Mahlaba. If he steps up his training he could be very competitive in the U23 Junior Worlds.

Murray Starr finished fourth, but second to Donovan in the U18 section, with a fast, clear round.

Three crews competed in the ungainly C2 craft, with two of them indicating their international standard and showing much promise for the future.

Nine women competed in the event. Five were girls from the Clarens squad of development paddlers and promise to show great improvement in the future.

Four were Maritzburg girls, who coped adequately with the course. Camilla Pennefather took the win with a clear round in the final. Jenna Starr finished second also on a clear round.

Brittany Petersen was unfortunate to capsize in the final, but shows that she has got what it takes to reach the top. Frances Beresford, known as a top sprinter, also capsized in the final, but showed that she too has the potential to develop her slalom skills.

RESULTS

Senior men K1: 1. D Wewege 55.71, 2. S Mahlaba 61.16,

3. I Rennie 62.74, 4. M Starr 63.85, 5. B v d Walt 64.98.

Senior men C1: 1. Cyprian Ngidi 61.38, 2. Master Cele 65.21, 3. Nteo 65.46

Ladies K1: 1. C Pennefather 81.29, 2. J Starr 112.31,

Senior men C2: 1. Jabulani/Nteo 70.19,

2. Lindelani/Thabo 73.17, 3. D Wewege/S Mahlaba 76.57

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