SA medal hunt is on

2008-09-19 00:00

Tyn Nad Vltavou — The South African canoeing team is fired up ahead of this weekend’s world marathon championships in the Czech Republic, claiming it is their best chance in many years to bag medals in the senior and junior divisions.

The team are struggling with the icy weather that has enveloped Tyn Nad Vltavou. Sub-zero temperatures were recorded during the Masters Cup preceding the world champs, where the SA veterans, masters and grand masters claimed two gold, two silvers and three bronze medals.

The success of the SA Masters has boosted the confidence of the seniors and juniors that start their bids for world titles in the K1 races today, with the K2 races tomorrow.

Gauteng teenager Grant van der Walt will lead the charge, as he attempts to defend his world junior K1 title. Cape star Bianca Beavitt will also use her experience in the girls’ K1 race.

In the senior men’s race, Ant Stott is optimistic about his chances of grabbing another medal. The Maritzburg ace has spent much of the winter training in Europe, and reports that he is in the best form of his life.

“My fitness levels are most probably at the highest they have ever been in my whole career,” said Stott. “This is by far the most time I have ever spent on solid training without injury or illness.”

Bridgitte Hartley also stands an outstanding medal chance. The Richards Bay prodigy hit headlines when she won the gold medal in the 1 000 metres final at the Poznan World Cup, a few days after her silver at the notoriously tough Duisburg World Cup Sprint Regatta.

In the K2, Ben Biggs and Stuart Waterworth will spearhead the challenge for medals, while the senior men’s race will see two very strong SA crews in the form of the Cape duo of Graeme Solomon and Lance King, and the combination of Stott and Cam Schoeman.

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