McGregor, Ward reign supreme at Shongweni

2014-04-30 00:00

WORLD champion Hank McGregor edged out U23 world champion Andy Birkett for the KZN Marathon Championships’ K1 men’s title and Jenna Ward got the better of SA K1 river champion Abby Adie to win the women’s title at the Shongweni Dam over the weekend.

The battle between McGregor and Birkett came down to a tight end-sprint after they had kept a close eye on one another throughout, while Ward paddled a smart race to claim the women’s honours.

Durban-based Ward said she paced herself because of the hot conditions in the middle of the day, going hard into and out of the portages, but allowing her opposition to come back to her in the water.

“I didn’t really feel like going out all by myself, so I waited for the others to come back and then we could work together,” she explained. “I feel, when you’re with other people, you pull stronger, rather than just going around by yourself. It was good.

“I felt very comfortable in the race, knowing I could have gone faster if I needed to. I know how to pace myself. Seeing that I could beat Abby made me realise that I could do well at the SA Marathon Champs [in June],” she concluded.

Ward is still U23 and could contest that category and the open women’s category at the South African Championships.

Chairperson of the Canoeing South Africa marathon committee, Brett Austen Smith was delighted by the standard of racing and the huge entry. “The attendance was fantastic,” he enthused. “There were 209 boats in total over the weekend, and we had seven current world champions on display, and the general enthusiasm and excitement around marathon racing was very visible. It was very evident.”

Apart from the racing in the senior categories, Austen Smith said he was also excited by the number of entries in the juniors and guppies classes, which he termed “very, very encouraging”. “It all relates to the 2017 ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships in Pietermaritzburg,” he added. “The 2017 Champs are definitely creating a vibe around marathon racing that we need to build on.”

Austen Smith is also the general manager of the Natal Canoe Club, which will be hosting the World Championships at Camps Drift.

The results on the weekend will determine the KZN Team that will be selected to go to SA Marathon Championships in Gauteng on June 7 and 8. The team is sure to contain all of seven of the current world champions, who will form the core of a very experienced and competitive squad. The Junior and U23 categories also look likely to be very competitive at the national event, which will be the selection event for the World Championships in September in the U.S.

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.