‘To finish third, wow!’says Ngidi

2010-01-25 00:00

JUST a year ago, Eric Zondi and Thomas Ngidi were wrapping up a dream start to their Dusi careers.

Their mentor, Dusi legend Martin Dreyer, had spoken of them needing time to learn about the river.

So a top 10 finish in the gruelling K2 would have been no embarassment for the young pair.

But try tell that to Ngidi and his “Porsche” of a partner, Zondi.

Their third-place finish in this weekend’s highly entertaining Dusi marathon won them praise from rivals and supporters alike.

What makes their achievement more remarkable is that Zondi was operating with a boil on his shoulder.

Not wanting to let his buddy down, the soft-spoken Zondi said he would give it a go, and his gamble has paid off massively.

“To finish third is, like, wow!” exclaimed the bubbly Ngidi.

Dreyer, bursting with pride, said that there will be more to come from them and others under the Change a Life banner, as they will only grow stronger with experience.

“For most of these guys, they are still just learning,” he said.

“No one thought they would paddle as well as they did on day two. We all knew they could run forever, but their paddling has been unbelievable,” Dreyer added.

The up-and-coming pair certainly surprised many, with many current and past stars of the Dusi predicting that a win can’t be too far away from the enthusiastic pair.

Having become the first all-black boat to get a podium finish in Dusi history, the Lembethe Canoe Club duo were already eyeing 2011.

“Eish, just imagine if Eric’s shoulder had been a bit better,” Ngidi cheekily added.

While many say that the more you do the Dusi the better you become, this year’s results have proved that there is no limit to what the exuberance of youth can conjure up.

Andrew Birkett won, while Ngidi and Zondi emerged as real stars of the future.

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