Coetzee paddling at his best in Denmark

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South African sprint canoeist Chrisjan Coetzee.
South African sprint canoeist Chrisjan Coetzee.
Bence Vekassy/Gameplan Media

South African sprint canoeing ace Chrisjan Coetzee produced a fairly strong performance for Team South Africa when he finished eighth in the men’s K1 500m A-Final at the ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships in Copenhagen at the weekend.

Coetzee was part of a small South African contingent that competed against the world’s best, but for the Western Cape paddler to make an A-Final proves how much he has improved.

“I really hope that the results from this weekend will give some hope to the young sprinters back home.”
South African sprint canoeing ace Chrisjan Coetzee.

He became the first South African male to qualify for an A-Final at the Sprint World Championships since Shaun Rubenstein did it in 2007.

“This weekend was really fun and I am super stoked with what I was able to achieve,” Coetzee said. “These results were the best I have ever achieved at a World Champs with my B-Final in the 200m and the A-Final for the 500m.

“It’s the first time I’ve been able to get into two finals at a World Championships.”

“I really hope that the results from this weekend will give some hope to the young sprinters back home.”

SA paddlers at ICF Canoe Sprint World Championship
The South African team at the ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships in Denmark (from left): Michelle Burn, Zara Wood, Chrisjan Coetzee, Bridgitte Hartley and Esti Olivier.

The results were a cherry on the top for Coetzee, who celebrated his 30th birthday during the competition.

“It was really nice being in Denmark and I really enjoyed the course. It was my first time there so it was a great experience.

Team South Africa also had a few crew boats at the competition, with the women’s K4 of Bridgitte Hartley, Esti Olivier, Zara Wood and Michelle Burn taking part for the first time.

Olivier and Hartley raced in their K2 and Olivier and Coetzee also teamed up for the mixed K2 racing.

For President of Canoeing South Africa Kim Pople, getting crew boats racing at world championships is what they want more of.

“We’ve said before that crew boats is the way we want to go in the future so we can get as many paddlers racing at the highest level,” Pople said.

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