SA duo take on world’s best

2014-09-18 00:00

DEEP CREEK — The two-member South African slalom team of Pietermaritzburg’s Don Wewege and Cameron Wells are in the final stages of preparations as they ready themselves to take on the best in the world at the 2014 ICF Slalom World Championships being held in Maryland, United States, this week.

The four-time South African slalom champion Wewege and Wells, will both take part in the K1 discipline with the former discarding the C1 discipline to focus fully on the K1 category with the Olympic qualifiers looming in 2015.

Wewege has been in Deep Creek for a few weeks with the ICF Talent Identification Development programme and having been able to paddle on the river he feels his preparations have been good for the upcoming World Championships despite a hiccup during tripping.

“Preparations have gone really well,” Wewege said. “I have now been on the course for two weeks and have enjoyed every minute of it.

“I am paddling a new boat for the event as I broke my one tripping on the Savage River on the third day, but I have adapted really well to it,” an upbeat Wewege added.

Having been in the United States for two weeks already Wewege feels that he has had enough time to adapt to the conditions, but explained that adapting was not too difficult considering the conditions were not too dissimilar to those in South Africa.

“Weather wise it is about the same as SA, which is great as it wasn’t too bad with adapting.

“We train on the same rapid, but the gates and the moves change every day. We will only know the official course the day of the race and there are no practice runs so the pre-event training is vital.

“It is a very physical course here and pacing will be a key factor in the race,” a clearly focused Wewege added.

The 2014 World Championships will be the second trip for the 20-year-old and he placed a lot of emphasis on producing some solid runs in the heat stages of the contest and has set himself a place in the semi-final as the ultimate goal for the event.

“My aim is to have two good clean runs in the heats that are both consistent with my level. Position wise I am aiming for a top 50, but a semi-final [top 40] would be even better.”

Although weather conditions are similar to back home Wewege was quick to point out the difficulties of the course that they will be racing on. He will have to play to his strengths on the course, but he feels that his all-round ability is improving as a result of the chance that ICF have given him.

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