SA shine at canoe champs

2014-09-26 00:00

OKLAHOMA CITY — The South African campaign at the ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships got under way in empathic fashion on Wednesday with its veterans and masters paddlers grabbing six K1 medals on the first day of competition — two golds, three silvers and a bronze.

The ICF Canoe Marathon Masters World Cup features paddlers over the age of 35 in five year age categories and saw South Africans dominating many of the medal presentation ceremonies.

Sixty-two-year-old Lee McGregor, father of current world champion Hank McGregor, produced the day’s most staggering result by winning the gold medal in the men’s 50-54 age category, electing to race in a younger and more competitive age category, racing 22 km instead of the 18 km set down for his actual age group.

“It turned out to be a smooth, problem-free race,” said McGregor afterwards. “We had the top U.S. Paddler in our group, there to try and dominate the 50-year-olds, but he got worked off the bunch. Then it was myself, a good Australian and a top Irish paddler that settled into the front bunch together, and it all worked out well for me in the end.

“It’s what we have been training for, what we have been working towards,” said a satisfied McGregor. “I can match my son’s three senior titles with three Masters Cup titles. Maybe it is time to give it up and concentrate on coaching,” he added tongue-in-cheek.

Bluewater Bay stalwart Hilde Lapere grabbed the second gold, racing away alone to claim victory in the women’s 55-59 year age group.

“It was a little choppy and windy for me, but I got a good slip from the other ladies because we all started together. The whole race worked out fantastically,” said Lapere, who was due to team up with ex-pat Margie Bohm, now racing in Australian colours, for the K2 race yesterday.

In the 65-69 men’s K1 age group, South Africans filled four of the first six places, with Durbanite Richard Venniker narrowly missing out on gold to the on-form Swede Svenning Jorgensen.

“The Mexican paddler took off like a bat out of hell, but luckily I followed [manager] Steve Jourdan’s advice and stuck with the Danes. The Danish paddler was much too strong! I managed to hold on for a while in what was a great race,” said Venniker, who medalled at his first Masters Cup outing.

Cape paddling icon Willem van Riet clinched an emotional silver medal in the Men’s 70+, his first international marathon paddling medal.



K1 Men 65-69

1 Svenning JØrgensen DEN 1:40:20.706

2 Richard Venniker RSA 1:40:24.222

3 Hermelindo Soto MEX 1:41:01.100

4 Chris Van Den Berg RSA 1:46:28.374

5 Johan Van Rooyen RSA 1:55:38.256

6 Stephen Jourdan RSA 1:55:39.432

K1 Men >70

1 Marian Nemec CAN 1:50:50.623

2 Willem Van Riet RSA 1:51:04.169

3 Lyle Mead AUS 1:57:08.271

4 Mike Howard RSA 2:17:16.167

K1 Men 60-64

1 Melvin Swallow GBR 1:36:25.817

2 Allan Hold RSA 1:36:57.115

3 Stephen Knight USA 1:46:27.791

K1 Women 55-59

1 Hilde Lapere RSA 1:46:32.418

2 Sonja Gilman USA 1:56:30.808

3 Ann Currell CAN 2:08:34.74

K1 Men 45-49

1 Victor Manuel Aller Alonso ESP 1:47:19.645

2 Jan Malherbe CAN 1:47:21.977

3 Gustav Smook RSA 1:48:41.593

K1 Men 50-54

1 Lee McGregor RSA 1:46:07.057

2 Darren Lee AUS 1:46:10.965

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