Dusi ain’t for the faint-hearted

2010-01-22 00:00

IT was success for some and disaster for others during the first day of the three-leg Dusi Canoe Marathon, which kicked off under cool conditions yesterday.

Dusi spokesman Ray de Vries said that although the day went according to plan, there were some injuries.

Some paddlers suffered lacerations; one required nine stitches, one suffered a broken ankle and another a broken elbow after the paddlers hit the rocks.

Another paddler was sent to hospital after a suspected heart attack ,while one person was saved when he got stuck in the canoe full of water.

De Vries raised a concern about today’s weather, saying that temperatures might be very high. “It gets very hot in this valley and [today] it might be at its highest.

We caution paddlers to drink more water, Coke and Powerade. Spectators, too, must look after themselves,” he said.

A seconding vehicle nearly went over the cliff in Broken Bridge and it’s not clear what must have lead to the near-accident. Racing marshals came to the rescue and everything went back to normal.

Third-placed pair Thomas Ngidi and Eric Zondi struggled for their win, with Zondi going into the race with an arm injury.

Zondi said he woke up last week with a blister on the right shoulder. It became bigger as he kept on massaging it and eventually he went to the doctor.

“I was concerned because the race was around the corner. On Tuesday I could tell that the sore won’t be healed before the race. But I was determined to participate and I told myself that despite the pain, I can do it,” he said.

Partners in the women’s batch Abby Adie and Lindi Harmsen were delayed when Harmsen fell out of the canoe at Campbells and injured her knee. That did not deter her from picking up where she had left off, pushing herself hard despite the pain. The zeal to win put the pair in third place in the women’s category.

Some of the canoeists clearly enjoyed participating as mixed doubles.

Dusi veteran Michael Stewart partnered with Kirsty Fox and the two were the first to get to the finishing line on day one of the marathon.

As the paddlers approached the finish line, community members in the Valley of a Thousand Hills cheered their local hero, Michael Mbanjwa, who took second place.

People in the valley, through which the Msunduzi River runs, appreciate having the event close to them. They say it feels good to have people visiting their area and boosting the talent of the youth in the process.

“Today we have paddlers from our area. These people, when they come here, we feel as part of the society. We have a reason to exist and the society needs our contribution to bring forth progress in sport,” said Duma Zulu, a resident in the valley.

With temperatures expected to soar in the valley today, De Vries said competitors must not become dehydrated and should take in liquids frequently.

 

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