Sbonelo Khwela sets sights on 10th Non-Stop Dusi title

2020-03-11 06:03
Sbonelo Khwela.PHOTO: Red Bull Content Pool

Sbonelo Khwela.PHOTO: Red Bull Content Pool

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FOLLOWING his second place at the FNB Dusi with Thulani Mbanjwa, Red Bull athlete Sbonelo Khwela is refocussing on the Non-stop Dusi, an event of which he is the undisputed king, having won nine titles.

“We had a very good Dusi,” the man from The Valley of a Thousand Hills, said.

“Of course, our goal was to win, but Andy (Birkett) and Khumbulani (Nzimande) were very strong and deserved the title. We’re happy with a second place.”

The three-day Dusi Canoe Marathon is arguably the world’s greatest kayaking ultra. It is run along the Msunduzi and Mgeni Rivers between Pietermaritzburg and Durban over a total distance of 120 kilometres. The race attracts between 1600 and 2000 paddlers each year. This is the biggest race of Khwela’s year, every year.

Khwela explained that if he learned anything during this year’s Dusi, it was to never give up. “You never know what could happen,” he explained. “We saw Andy and Khumbulani swimming after they made a mistake at Gauging Weir and managed to get the lead there for a while.”

Birkett and Nzimande managed to open up a substantial gap in the final 15kms of Day Two, but Khwela and Mbanjwa brought it back down on the final day, despite the fact that everyone paddled around Burma Road. “There was no running on the final day – which is our strength – but we managed to dig deep and close the gap a bit.”

Khwela is now setting his sights on the potential of a 10th title at the Non-Stop Dusi, which starts on March 13. The event is known as the ‘Dusi in a Day’ and takes place over the same course as the three-day event, but in one massive endurance feat.

Mbanjwa is currently unwell and will most likely not be fit to race, so Khwela has opted to race with Baneste Nkhouse, with who he finished third in the three-day Dusi in 2016.

— Supplied.

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