Twins face serious pressure

2012-02-15 00:00

IN what is being described as the strongest women’s K2 field ever assembled for The Unlimited Dusi canoe marathon, the two fancied female crews are locked in a curious race within a race.

The dice for the women’s title will be between the defending champions Abbey Ulansky and Robyn Kime and the up-and-coming Adie twins from Howick, Alex and Abbey.

It will be a race that most pundits say is too close to call.

Both crews are in prime form going into the race, and talk is now turning to how well they will fare against the men’s crews.

Two years ago Kime and Ulansky finished 24th overall, and it has been a long-standing goal among the elite women paddlers to try to finish in the top 20 overall.

Both crews are members of the new pro team, Team Best 4 Kayak Centre, which has put up a R40 000 incentive to any of their women finishing in the top 20.

“Our paddling seems pretty evenly matched, so it is going to come down to how we run,” said Ulansky, who was enjoying spending time with Wendy Pope-Ellis at her old training base outside Pietermaritzburg.

The Adie twins have been the pacesetters this season, winning most of the major races in the build-up to the Dusi, and deserve their status as the pre-race favourites.

The twins have forged a strong partnership built on solid paddling, tenacious running and gritty determination.

“It’s so exciting to be part of a race that is so competitive,” said Alex Adie. “We are feeling confident after a good build-up. We have done all the tripping that we need to, and can’t wait for the race to start.

“There is no doubt that the running will be key. We want to put pressure on Robyn [Kime] and Abbey [Ulansky] throughout the race,” she added. “I really don’t think they have had to race under serious pressure before and it will be interesting to see how they react to that.”

Adie said she and her twin had been very comfortable in the boat together, and were not afraid to take risks if there was a clear advantage to be gained from shooting a dangerous rapid that would normally be portaged by the other female crews.

The sisters also enjoy the unique advantage of being twins, and the uncanny understanding that comes with that. “We often understand what the other is thinking without a word having to be said,” said Adie.

“It is also a big help that we are almost identical in stature,” she said. “It helps in the boat, but especially in the running with the boat on portages. Being so similar makes it a lot easier and more efficient.”

The marathon starts tomorrow. More info can be found at www.dusi.co.za

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