Wewege takes fifth K1 slalom title in dramatic race

2015-04-08 00:00

DIHLABENG — Don Wewege grabbed his fifth back-to-back national K1 slalom title at the Dihlabeng Mall SA Slalom Canoe Championships on the Ash River in the Eastern Free State as drama-laced action determined the make-up of the podium.

Wewege, whose primary focus this year is trying to secure qualification for the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games next year, held off a gallant charge from Dihlabeng youngster Success Mahlaba, who in turn held off Maritzburg College schoolboy Brandon Orpwood in third.

“The standard of competition was very high this year and the quality of paddling from the paddlers at the local Dihlabeng club was exceptional,” said Wewege (Maxpaddle/SecondSkins), a product of the KZN Elite Athlete Development Programme.

In the showdown for the Men’s K1 title, on a course set by veteran slalom paddler Cameron McIntosh, Orpwood threw down the gauntlet with a fast time but burdened himself with three two-second penalties for gate touches.

That left the door open for Mahlaba, who scorched down the course in the day’s fastest time, but in the process picked up four gate-touch penalties. Wewege was able to snatch the gold medal by completing the course with one gate touch fewer.

“It’s exciting to win the national title again, but more importantly I was happy with the form I showed, especially in the semi-final,” said Wewege. “That is the sort of form I am going to need when it comes to trying to qualify later in the year.”

The Dihlabeng club dominated in the C-boat classes, which unusually rivalled the K1 class in total number of entries.

Olympian Lindelani “Cyprian” Ngidi, who is also the coach at Dihlabeng, showed his class with a final run that was blemished by just one gate touch. Clubmate Nteo Mokhutu took the silver medal and Wewege earned the C1 bronze to go with his K1 gold medal.

Nteo Mokuthu and Jabulani Mofokeng combined to win the national C2 title for the host Dihlabeng club.


Men’s K1

Pos Athlete Time (Penalties) Total

1 Don Wewege 88,55 (6) 94,55

2 Success Mahlaba 88,07 (8) 96,07

3 Brandon Orpwood (U18) 91,93 (6) 97,93

4 Moses Mokoena 122,25 (4) 124,25

5 Thabo Moloi 115,43 (12) 127,43

Mens C1

Pos Athlete Time (Penalties) Total

1 Lindelani Ngidi 124,92 (2) 126,92

2 Nteo Mokhutu 117,51 (10) 127,51

3 Don Wewege 96,80 (50) 146,80

4 Jabulani Mofokeng 112,40 (102) 214,40

5 Sandile Makhubo 163,46 (54) 217,46

6 Mahlomolo Musa 166,33 (152) 318,22

Men’s C2

1 Nteo Mokuthu/Jabulani Mofokeng 167,15 (206) 373,15

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