Young paddlers battle for glory in Ozzie Gladwin race

2014-11-08 00:00

A NEW generation of talented juniors will do battle over the 26 km of the Ozzie Gladwin tomorrow, eager for glory, prize money and preferential seeding for the 2015 Dusi Canoe Marathon.

Leading the charge is new junior K2 World Champion Louis Hattingh.

While he will be right in the mix for the junior line honours at the Gladwin, he will be one of the top schoolboys who will move up to the U23 ranks at the start of the new calendar year. This means he will be “barking with the big dogs” for next year’s Dusi.

Hattingh can expect a tough day’s racing from the current U18 crop of paddlers with the likes of 2014 U18 K2 Dusi Canoe Marathon champion Mthobisi Cele, slalom specialist Brandon Orpwood and up-and-coming stars such as Michaelhouse’s U16 Dusi K1 champ Alan Houston on the water.

With matric examinations under way, there are a few of the outgoing stock of junior paddlers who might not be on the start line tomorrow. However, this has not diminished the intensity of the contest for junior laurels when the racing starts in earnest on Albert Falls Dam.

Another ominous threat will be the Change a Life Academy juniors, who have eyed out the 2014 Ozzie Gladwin as a race in which they can excel.

Martin Dreyer believes that it will be a good test for his juniors.

“We have more focus on the juniors at Change a Life going into the 2015 Dusi and so we’re hoping for a good performance from all our youngsters,” he said.

“The stretch of river for Ozzie isn’t all that technical and is quite forgiving so I’m expecting all of the top marathoners from the Maritzburg schools to be there. It will be tough.”

Cele, who moves into the U23 ranks next year, narrowly missed out on a spot in the top 10 at the Dusi this year with partner Damon Stamp as they ended eleventh overall and he leads a strong Change a Life Academy force at this year’s Ozzie Gladwin.

The 2013 K2 edition of the Ozzie Gladwin saw Stamp and Cele win the U18 title and finish in ninth overall. It was the impressive duo of Mpilo Zondi and Nkosi Mabaso who took the honours in the U16 category. Zondi and Mabaso are two of the Change a Life paddlers Dreyer has singled out as strong contenders heading into the Ozzie Gladwin and a pair of positive results for them will stand them in good stead heading into the rest of the KwaZulu-Natal river season.

With a long and competitive Dusi season ahead it is going to be important for many of these young paddlers to get themselves favourable seeding spots ahead of the showpiece event in February next year.

The 2014 Ozzie Gladwin Canoe Marathon is from Albert Falls Dam to Thornvale Farm.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.