Unlimited Dusi: Iconic marathon gets new name, new sponsor

2010-09-10 00:00

A NEW Dusi Canoe Marathon sponsor was announced to much fanfare at Inanda Dam yesterday.

Insurance group The Unlimited takes over from Hansa and Powerade. Chairperson Iain Buchan said his company will commit R10 million in a new sponsorship deal for the next three years.

The Unlimited painted Inanda Dam red and white with its colours on a pleasant day that saw the guests wining, dining and being entertained with two short laps of canoe races.

Buchan said of the Dusi, “This is iconic, it’s world-famous and has made many legends.”

He said Unlimited had wanted to become associated with the world-famous event and decided to come on board when it saw an opportunity present itself.

It also wants to involve more paddlers from the valley, he added.

“Our agenda is beyond just sponsorship. As the new chief sponsors we want to make next year the best Dusi ever,” Buchan said.

The marathon marks its 60th anniversary next year and with the new sponsors on board, it will become known as the Unlimited Dusi, said race spokesperson Ray de Vries.

The announcement was greeted with great excitement by supporters, participants and Dusi legends.

One of the reigning champions who was at the announcement, Jason Graham, said he is very excited.

“I am looking forward to defending my championship with the new sponsors,” he said.

Tim Cornish, who has won the race four times — in 1983, 1986, 1988 and 1990 — also welcomed the new sponsor.

“It’s great that there is a new company involved. It will uplift the standard of the race and take it to new heights,” he said.

Cameron McKenzie, chairperson of the organising committee, is also excited about the new partnership.

Michael Mbanjwa, who won the 2008 Dusi Marathon doubles with Martin Dreyer, said he hopes the new sponsor will make the race more exciting.

Ant Stott, a defending champion for singles, said it is nice to have new ideas and changes into the race.

He predicted that next year’s race, which will be held in February, will be tough.

Meanwhile, old timers Richard Edwards (71) and Hugh Raw (70), who have been paddling together since 1987, said next year would be their last in the race. “We want to show comradeship and togetherness as we retire from the Dusi. It will be very emotional,” Raw said.

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