Stott shrugs off foot injury ahead of Unlimited Dusi

2011-02-03 00:00

DURBAN — Defending champion Ant Stott has shaken off a foot injury and set his sights on a rare hat-trick of K1 victories in the Unlimited Dusi that starts in Pietermaritzburg on February 17.

The 32-year-old, who has won the famous three-day race twice in a single and twice in a double, was hamstrung by a painful foot injury in January that interfered with his running training.

However, the likeable athlete views the injury not as a setback but as an unexpected bonus as he tries to juggle the demands of working full time with his paddling career.

“If there is such a thing, then the foot injury was a positive injury,” says Stott. “It forced me to rest, which, looking back, was a good thing. The injury was from overuse, and rest was what I needed then.”

In many ways it will be a very different Ant Stott who lines up for his 17th Dusi at Camps Drift in a fortnight’s time.

Critically, he is enjoying his paddling, and more importantly, the racing and training is pain-free.

Stott has also left behind the luxury of being a full-time paddler, and now has to arrange training sessions around his work hours. Again, the rejuvenated Stott feels this has played into his hands.

“It has forced me to be cleverer about my training,” says Stott. “I have also been doing less gym since I started working, which has left me feeling good, and efficient going into the race. I am around four kilograms lighter than I was when I won in 2009, and feeling good about that.”

He also knows that a race like the Unlimited Dusi tends to select its winners carefully, and any one of at least five paddlers could claim the title this year.

“It would be arrogant for me to start the race thinking that I am going to win it again,” said Stott. “I will race it to win, but will be happy to make it onto the podium.” — Own Correspondent.

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