Canoeing: McGregor ducks the berg, heads to Portugal

2013-05-23 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Nine-time winner Hank McGregor has confirmed that he will not be on the start line in Paarl to defend his title in the Berg River Canoe Marathon this year, despite bold attempts to avoid the clash with the new Surfski World Championships.

McGregor has set his sights on winning the first-ever Surfski World Championships held under the auspices of the International Canoe federation (ICF) in Vila de Conde in Portugal from July 12 to 14, overlapping with the 52nd running of the Berg River Canoe Marathon.

“It was a really tough choice because I am passionate about the Berg.

“I have always loved my surfski racing and the chance to race in the first world champs was just too good to miss,” said McGregor.

Organisers even offered to juggle dates of the event to try and accommodate McGregor and a handful of other potential contenders who were eyeing the inaugural surfski world crown.

“I was really flattered to be approached about actually moving the dates,” said McGregor.

“But I thought it wouldn’t be right, particularly as I will representing my country in Portugal, and would have had to race back just in time to make the Berg time trial, which would have been crazy.

“So there will be a new name on the trophy this year.

“I think that will shake things up quite a bit and I will be following it with interest,” he added.

The Berg River Canoe marathon starts in Paarl on July 10 and ends at Velddrif on July 13.

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