Hank McGregor eyes third world marathon champs title

2012-09-21 00:00

HANK McGregor is making no bones about his desire to defend his world marathon championships title on the Tiber River in Rome, this weekend.

Having won the title in Singapore last year, the 34-year-old paddler from Ballito wants to win the men’s K1 race for a third time and is prepared for a serious assault against the world’s best.

A ninth Berg River title in July and a new dice record at Blue Lagoon last week is the perfect platform for a paddler who never gives up until the race is done.

He is under no illusions that he will have to call on all his expertise to set Rome alight. Besides compatriot Len Jenkins in the field, McGregor needs to quell the efforts of Spain’s Ivan Alonso (third last year), Hungary’s Mäté Petrovics, Australia's Michael Leverett and Portugal’s José Ramalho.

In hindsight, this plays right into McGregor’s hands as the stronger the field, the more determined he is to show his pedigree.

“This is a big priority for me and to win a world title with the best in the world on the water would be special.

“I’ve enjoyed a perfect build-up and it’s a matter of delivering on the day. Despite having won before, I am nervous,” said McGregor.

Looking over the course, the South African paddlers are upbeat, saying it suits those used to river paddling.

Said McGregor, who leads the Team Best 4 Kayak Centre contingent: “It’s an awesome, tough course. There is flowing water and steep portages, where many paddlers have slipped and fallen during training.”

Joining McGregor in South Africa’s green and gold is his K2 partner Grant van der Walt, fellow K2 pairing Jasper Mocké and Simon van Gysen, Brandon van der Walt, current women’s Dusi champ Robyn Kime, Michéle Eray, Alexa Cole and Eloise van Gysen.

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