‘Change-a-Lifers’ now hot property

2016-02-16 06:00
Photo: supplied Computershare Change a Life Academy stars Mmeli Cele (front) and Khumbulani Nzimande represent one of the setup's most exciting duos ahead of the 2016 FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon.

Photo: supplied Computershare Change a Life Academy stars Mmeli Cele (front) and Khumbulani Nzimande represent one of the setup's most exciting duos ahead of the 2016 FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon.

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THE remarkable running abilities and rapidly developing river skills of the Computershare Change a Life Academy’s canoeists has seen the Valley of 1000 Hills competitors become hot property ahead of this year’s FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon.

The academy’s history of a strong presence within the event’s top 20 and throughout the junior and U23 age groups is to be somewhat diluted in 2016 after numerous Change a Life “Zulus” received requests from non-academy paddlers to team up for this year’s FNB Dusi.

“We’ve got as many as five or six of our Zulus who have formed partnerships with guys from outside our academy for this year’s Dusi,” said “Dusi Duke” and academy founder, Martin Dreyer.

“A lot of guys from outside the Change a Life family are now asking our guys to do Dusi with them because of what our guys can bring to a partnership.

“It is such a compliment to see how far our team has come since we first started. Our academy has developed to such a high level that our guys are now being outsourced.

“It’s time for us to spread the love while our guys have got to experience everything an continue to grow as individuals.

“We’ve given them their wings, now we’ve got to let them fly.

“Mhlonishwa Hlongwane, who finished eighth in last year’s K1 Dusi, and Nqobile Makhanya were another strong combination that were looking to do well together,” said Dreyer.

“About a month ago Mhlonishwa unfortunately had to pull out of their pairing because the dive course he started with the Sharks Board shortly after last year’s Dusi saw him posted at Langebaan in the Western Cape and unable to take part in this year’s race.

“Nqobile has however, now managed to link up with Irvin Dixon for Dusi.”

Exciting junior talent Mpilo Zondi is another set to compete with an outsider at the 120km, three-day event after he and Fish Hoek-based surf ski and marathon sensation Mark Keeling confirmed their combination.

A strong showing at the StaminaGro 50 Miler in December suggests the young pair will be a major force to be reckoned with in the U18 boys’ race while also outlining another interesting step in the academy’s progression.

“It has been great to see our guys not only being invited by others to paddle with them, but they are now being asked to drive their boats,” said Dreyer.

“It’s nice to see our guys standing on their own feet and taking ownership of the partnership.”

The FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon takes place from Camps Drift, Pietermaritzburg to Blue Lagoon, Durban from 18-20 February 2016. More information can be found at www.dusi.co.za - Supplied.

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