Grant van der Walt and Abby Adie named senior paddlers of the year

2010-03-10 00:00

GRANT van der Walt capped his very successful first year in KZN with the KNCU Senior and U21 Paddler of the Year titles at the annual KNCU prize-giving dinner last Friday night.

Based in Gauteng for all his junior years, Van der Walt moved to Durban early in 2009 to continue his tertiary education, and in September at the World Marathon Championships in Portugal took the gold medal in the inaugural Men’s U23 World Championships. This made him KZN’s fourth Marathon World Champion along with Hank McGregor, Ant Stott and Cam Schoeman. It was also his second Marathon World Championship win as he won the Junior title in 2008.

Abby Adie won the Women’s Senior and U21 titles at the same event held at the Golden Horse Casino in Pietermaritzburg. Adie, a rising star in KZN canoeing, was the province’s most successful woman paddler in 2009, with fourth places in both the Hansa Powerade Fish SA K1 River Marathon and the SA Flat Water Marathon K1 in Plettenberg Bay. With Lindi-May Harmsen of the Western Cape, she won the SA K2 River Marathon on the Vaal and took the silver medal in the K2 Flat Marathon in Plet. Although not included in the events considered for the award, she rose firmly to the top of SA river paddling 10 days ago with a win in the Global Trader Drak Challenge SA K1 River Championships in Underberg.

In the Junior category, Epworth’s Jenna Starr and Michaelhouse’s Stuart MacLaren took the titles for 2009.

Besides these more subjective trophies, 14 new and 12 re-awards of National Protea Colours as well as seven new and 14 re-awards of National Federation Colours were made, emphasising the strength of KZN canoeing in South Africa. From a provincial point of view, 51 new and 23 re-awards of KZN Colours were handed out.

The winners of the various championship titles during the year all collected their silverware, and Umfolosi Canoe Club (Ithala Challenge) and Kingfisher Canoe Club (Umkomaas Marathon) took the trophies for the best organised single-day and multi-day races in 2009. uMzinyathi Canoe Club was adjudged the best administered club.

Debby Bird of Wykham Collegiate’s sports science department received the Chairman’s Award from KNCU chairman Mark Lynn for her contributions to schools canoeing. Bird is chairperson of the province’s schools canoeing committee responsible for the running of the annual eight-event Interschools Challenge, a major source of new paddlers for the sport in KZN.

In recognition of their support of KZN canoeing, Interschools Challenge sponsors Owen Hemmingway of Popes Canoe Centre and Giles King of Capitol Caterers received two of the KNCU Special Awards for Service to Canoeing. A third went to all-round patron of the sport Cameron MacKenzie of Parklane Spar. The final Special Award for 2009 went to Kevin Trodd for his efforts in establishing the excellent relationship that KNCU have with Umgeni Water with regard to the regulation of the water releases from their dams that make river racing in KZN possible. Trodd, who stepped down as chairman in 2009, also received honorary life membership of the union.

Guest speaker at the dinner and handing out the awards was 2010 Hansa Powerade Dusi Winner Jason Graham. In an entertaining speech relating to his preparations for winning the race in January with Andew Birkett, he emphasised the importance of not taking short cuts in preparation and training, believing in yourself, perseverance, surrounding yourself with a good support team and having fun.

Paddlers of the year:

U14 – Courtney MacKenzie – TWC, Tyron Pontes – AMA.

U16 – Kerry Segal and Jenna Ward – AMA (joint award), Donovan Wewege – MAR

U18 – Jenna Starr – EPW, Stuart MacLaren – MIC.

SV – Patricia Stannard – FEZ , Warren Valentine – NAT

V – Mandy Austen-Smith – NAT, Wayne Wilson – KIN.

SM – Jenni Manning – UMZ, Glen Hilliar – KIN.

M – Lorna Holmes – UMZ, Peter Duncan – STE

SGM – Linda Lodge – STE, Nigel Briggs – NAT

GM – Len Jenkins(snr) – NAT SNR & U21 – Abby Adie – NAT, Grant van der Walt –KIN.

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