Dusi seeding starts with Umpetha Challenge

2015-11-04 06:00
Photo: supplied EuroSteel/Red Bull star Sbonelo Khwela (front) and Banetse Nkhoesa will take a few weeks off then jump into their 2016 KwaZulu-Natal river season training.

Photo: supplied EuroSteel/Red Bull star Sbonelo Khwela (front) and Banetse Nkhoesa will take a few weeks off then jump into their 2016 KwaZulu-Natal river season training.

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DUSI Canoe Marathon season is fast approaching and the race for top seedings begins in earnest with the Umpetha Challenge with defending champion and current K2 Dusi Canoe Marathon champion Sbonelo Khwela and his partner Banetse Nkhoesa eyeing it as the start of their 2016 preparation when the unique one-day race takes place from Camps Drift to the Bishopstowe Farmers’ Hall on 8 November.
The race, formelyr known as the NCC Development Race, has taken on a new identity since its name change in 2014, and with the race following the same format as the Dusi Canoe Marathon, EuroSteel/Red Bull star Khwela will return with Nkhoesa in 2015 to defend the K2 title he and Euro Steel’s Andy Birkett won two years ago.
The pair have been training hard together over the past few months as they both look towards the 2016 Dusi, however, Khwela was disappointed by the duo’s performance at the recent SA K2 Championships at the Hansa Fish River Canoe Marathon.
“It was really disappointing for us as we were looking for a top 10 at the Fish this last weekend,” said Khwela.
“We wrapped our boat at Soutpans Rapid and then had so much time to make up on day two.”
“Although it was a disappointment we were still happy with the way we went on day two. We were flying to try and make up places.
“We are putting our feet up for two weeks now because we have had a serious period of paddling recently.
“We just want to take some time off before we begin our charge towards Dusi with some big races coming up, starting with the Umpetha.
With a favourable seeding for the 2016 Dusi on the line, Khwela understands the importance of getting their summer season off to a good start at the challenge.
However, with a few weeks away from the boat on the cards for the pair, he is not putting too much pressure on himself or Nkhoesa going into the new season.
“It would be a bonus to come first at Umpetha, but it will be the first time that Banetse and I will be running with the boat and the finish is on a portage so we will just have to see how it goes.
“Not having run together we will need a bit of time to get ourselves running-fit, but what better race to start our Dusi training than the Umpetha Challenge?”
More information can be found at www.umpethachallenge.co.za - Supplied.

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