Paddling to the top

2018-07-03 06:01
Haylen Nixton (left) Christie Mackenzie (right)

Haylen Nixton (left) Christie Mackenzie (right)

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Christie Mackenzie (19), of the IIE’s Varsity College in Rondebosch, along with her partner secured themselves a spot at the national paddling team.

The team will participate at the 2018 ICF Marathon World Championships Portugal in September.

This follows their achievement at the South African Marathon Championships held in St Francis Bay, Eastern Cape on Sunday 17 June. They came won a second place and walked away with a silver medal. They competed at an U23 level which was a 30km long.

Mackenzie says the win came as a surprise for her and her paddling partners Hayley Nixton.

Mackenzie says since she was busy preparing for her mid-year exam, she did not pay much attention to the marathon but decided to take part on last minutes.

“I was excited that Haylen was also interested. We just went for it and enjoyed. It was all about fun for us but quite funny, we won. It is an amazing feeling­.”

Mackenzie describes the competition as a tough and gruelling race. She says the tide was a big factor in the outcome of the race as it determined their paddling strength and challenged their ability­.

She says though she has been competing since Grade 11, it was her first time in the K2 and is looking forward to the opportunity this would open for her.

“Obviously being in the national team comes with lots of responsibilities and opportunities, I will start preparing myself for bigger things. Paddling is a rare sport with a very small circle, one has to use every opportunity wisely.”

Mackenzie says she would not have done it without Nixton.

“I am grateful to my partner, she is older and stronger than I am, she is the one who did the most work and kept us going. For that I regard her as my role model. She will be teaching me some techniques in preparation for September.”

Andrew Howitt, sports coordinator at the IIE’s Varsity College, congratulated Mackenzie.

“It is great to see that Christie’s passion, hard work and commitment to the sport of paddling has paid off. Christie demonstrates the true meaning of Varsity College sports life and we are extremely proud of her achievements.”

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