Donovan Wewege shows his class as he wins his fourth slalom gold

2014-04-01 00:00

DONOVAN Wewege bagged a fourth successive national slalom crown at the weekend when he topped the results at the South African Slalom Canoeing Championships held at the Motocross weir on the Duzi River on Sunday.

The 20-year-old Pietermaritzburg student showed the deft touches and skill that come from years of campaigning as a top slalom paddler, both locally and at an international level, as he posted a fast, clean second run of 39 seconds, which clearly set him apart from his challengers.

Maritzburg College schoolboy Brandon Orpwood, Wewege’s training partner, finished second overall and took the junior title, with Murray Starr securing the last place on the overall podium.

The win cemented Wewege’s status as the country’s best hope in this Olympic discipline, as he and Orpwood plan to extend their campaign abroad to further their international experience. “We just don’t race enough,” said Wewege after wrapping up the Canoeing South Africa gold medal for the fourth time in a row.

“While this course was fun, and we made it pretty tricky, the courses that we race on at world cups and world championships are so different, and getting experience on that sort of water is a challenge,” said Wewege.

He started the day racing in a C1 configuration single canoe, after dabbling in the discipline for a number of weeks, before converting to a K1 for the national championships.

“By entering as a C1 there is a chance of getting more racing in during internationals because the fields are somewhat smaller, and being keen to get as much experience as possible at the highest level, racing a C1 will probably get me two extra runs at a major international,” he said.

Epworth matric schoolgirl Camilla Pennefather retained her national women’s K1 title, with Orpwood taking the junior boys’ title from Michaelhouse schoolboy Brandon Macleod.

Kloof stalwart Nigel Briggs topped the masters age group from John Evans.

The event was held on the Grimthorpe Motocross weir course, after low water on the planned venue on the Umkomaas River forced the organisers to shift the competition to the city training ground on the Duzi River, which was running at a good medium level for the event.

Senior men: Donovan Wewege, Brandon Orpwood, Murray Starr.

Women: Camilla Pennefather.

Junior boys: Brandon Orpwood, Brandon Macleod.

Masters: Nigel Briggs, John Evans.

Junior short course: Matthew Fuhri.

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