Canoeists attack final world cup regatta of the year

2009-06-06 00:00

HUNGARY’S iconic sprint canoeing course outside the town of Szeged will come alive with competition this morning as the third and final World Cup regatta of the year gets under way. Often referred to as the home of sprinting, the venue is known for its passionate supporters and carnival atmosphere, and the South African team will be hoping this translates into good results.

Off the back of multiple medals in both of the previous World Cups, Bridgitte Hartley will once again be South Africa’s best hope for podium positions. Hartley has been in excellent form in the K1 1000 m races, winning bronze in the Czech Republic and Poland.

She will also take plenty of confidence from a gold in the K1 5000 m in Racice, and bronze in the same event in Poznan, where her powerful endsprint saw her claim the final podium position. In this weekend’s regatta, however, there are no 5000 m events, and athletes will have to adjust to the shorter 200 m sprint.

With Olympic 500 m finalist Jen Hodson taking time off, SA hopes in the women’s category will also be carried by fellow Olympian Carol Joyce, who is entered in the K1 1000 m and 500 m races. Joyce had a solid return to international racing two weeks ago in Poznan, finishing ninth in the K1 5000 m.

One of the most eagerly anticipated races at the weekend will be the men’s K2 500 m race, where star sprinter Shaun Rubenstein is teaming up with fellow powerhouse Mike Arthur.

The duo have had limited training time together, but there is widespread excitement about their potential as they were individually outstanding in the national regattas.

“Mike has been following my technique really well and the boat feels very smooth,” said Rubenstein this week from the team’s training camp in Budapest.

The Szeged course holds a special place for the national champion, as it was the venue for his first World Cup medal — a bronze two years ago in the K1 500 m. Rubenstein will also be hoping for success in his more familiar K1 events.

Another team boat showing potential is that of world marathon champion Cam Schoeman and fellow U21 partner Stu Waterworth. The pair will be racing in all three distances — the K2 200 m, 500 m and 1000 m — and will be hoping to make the A-finals.

With youth on their side, the weekend will be another invaluable step in their development on the Canoeing South Africa High-performance Programme, which is being funded by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund.

Mike Arthur will complete the K4 boat for the 1000 m along with Greg Louw, Len Jenkins and Nick Stubbs, and among tough competition the focus for the crew will primarily be on race experience. Nic Burden will replace Arthur for the K4 200 m, and will also compete in the K1 200 m alongside Louw.

The sprint team is coming off the back of a good camp at the familiar MTK and Csepel clubs in Hungary.

The Szeged World Cup will be their final opportunity for international racing ahead of the 2009 World Championships, which are being staged from August 12 to 16 in Dartmouth, Canada.

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

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.