‘I race because it’s a challenge’

2009-01-13 00:00

HILLCREST’S Jan de Neef has strapped on his prosthetic arm and is ready to go for this year’s Hansa Powerade Dusi, which starts at Camp’s Drift at 6 am tomorrow.

This 51-year-old will be the only physically challenged competitor to take part in this year’s race — making it his sixth time competing since he lost his arm in a car accident.

“Disability is in the mind. I’m not disabled … I’ve paddled all sorts of races before, and since I’ve lost my arm,” he said.

The computer services manager admitted, however, that it was challenging to do the Dusi after his accident, but said that he loves challenges.

In fact, he first entered the Dusi to challenge himself (and a good friend).

“It started as a bet some eight to nine years ago — that involved some alcohol,” he explained. “A friend and I were watching the Comrades and bet each other that we would do the Comrades, but ended up doing the Dusi instead.”

De Neef has never missed a race since.

Despite having done seven consecutive Dusis thus far, the avid canoeist still feels a bit nervous about the upcoming race. “There’ll always be nerves. I don’t think everyone feels nervous before going out on the river. But I’m more excited than anything else.”

The eighth time racer is not aiming to win the race, however. He does the Dusi for the fun of it. “I’m a fish and chips paddler. I race because it’s fun … a challenge … ”

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