Lance Kime does not feel the heat

2014-12-31 00:00

DEFENDINGK1 champion Lance Kime is approaching the Dusi Canoe Marathon in the same way as he did in 2013 and simply shrugs off the pressure of being the reigning title holder.

The 23-year-old has just finished his studies at Stellenbosch University and after being laid low with a serious bout of glandular fever, he has now set his sights solely on retaining the Dusi K1 crown.

“Sure the hype and media pressure will be different because I come into the Dusi as the defending champion, but that doesn’t affect anything about the way I will be approaching the race,” said Kime, who in 2013 achieved a rare feat by winning the Dusi in the same year that his older sister, Robyn, won the women’s K1 title.

“I don’t see it any differently. It’s an attitude that you take into the event that counts and there is no change there.”

“It is something I really look forward to, the whole summer in KwaZulu-Natal, training in the heat, trips into the valley, learning the rivers and the paths on the portages. I just love it,” he said.

Kime had to settle for a lazy outing at the Hansa Fish, because of doctor’s orders while he had glandular fever, when the other three who make up the Dusi “Fantastic Four” were racing each other.

Having been given the medical all-clear, the Maritzburger is loving being back into a full-training regime.

“It is such a relief to be back training twice a day,” he said. “Only now do I realise how much I need that rush you get from a hard exercise session.”

More than anything Kime will want to prove that his stunning 2013 win was not a flash in the pan.

His 2013 victory was built on consistency, while others around him made critical mistakes. Andy Birkett had just blitzed into the lead on the second day when he swam at Thombi Rapid, a hiccup that effectively ended his title race.

Then on the final stage into the finish in Durban, Sbonelo Zondi, who had virtually led the entire race, capsized at Pump­house Weir on the outskirts of the city, leaving the door open for the steady Kime to charge into the lead and claim the title.

Kime says the enforced layoff due to the glandular fever may work to his advantage at the Dusi. “I am a great fan of an off-season and good rest. Every time I have taken a deliberate rest break, I have been able to come back stronger.

“The timing was not ideal, as I would normally have wanted to be racing against other top guys in October and November, but there is nothing I can do about that. Let’s hope the rest proves beneficial in the long run in February.”

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