Defending champ Michéle Eray says she’ll be there for the Fish

2014-09-06 00:00

THE women’s race of the 2014 Hansa Fish River Canoe Marathon received an exciting shake-up this week with confirmation that defending champion and former Eastern Cape local Michéle Eray will, in fact, be making the trip out from her new base in Oklahoma City in the United States for the 33rd edition of the race.

The race takes place on October 10 and October 11.

Having moved to Oklahoma City last year, many assumed the 2012 K1 race winner would focus her attention on the 2014 ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships, to be hosted in her new hometown just two weeks before this year’s Fish.

The former Plettenberg Bay resident was, however, quick to dispel any misconceptions, despite acknowledging she may not quite be in peak form now. “I certainly am coming out for the Fish,” said Eray (33).

“I’ve bought my air ticket already as I just can’t miss it.

“Last year I sat over here [U.S.] and watched the race via Twitter and I said to myself that if I was still based over here in the U.S. come 2014, then there would be no way that I wouldn’t be on the Fish’s starting line.”

Eray became the first Eastern Cape local to win the Cradock clash since Daniël Conradie’s victorious effort in 1997.

Down a bit from where she’d like to be, due to the constraints her new full-time position as USA Canoe/Kayak’s high performance manager has put on her training schedule, she is still excited by the opportunity to defend her title this year’s race represents. “With the Fish being an Eastern Cape race it’s just so special to me to do well in it so I’ll try my hardest to defend my title,” she said.

“I’m in a very different position now to what I was two years ago – two years older and having spent a lot less time in the boat, unfortunately.” 

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