Birkett steals the headlines at KZN Marathon Champs field

K2MenPortage

Andy Birkett and Louis Hattingh (right) take out for a portage, [putting pressure on Jakub Adam and Jean van der Westhuyzen (left) at the 2016 KZN Canoe Marathon Championships hosted by Natal Canoe Club at Camps Drift, Pietermaritzburg this weekend. Dave Macleod/Gameplan Media

Pietermaritzburg – Andy Birkett bagged the elusive double gold at the KwaZulu-Natal Marathon Canoeing Champs at Camps Drift on the weekend, pleased that the success heralded the end of a frustrating month leading up to the event.

With the SA Champs just three weeks away Birkett stamped his authority on the event by winning the K1 gold on Saturday in a ding-dong duel with Czech racer Jakub Adam, and then teamed up with Under 23 youngster Louis Hattingh to add the K2 gold to his haul, downing Adam and Michaelhouse junior Jean van der Westhuyzen.

“It’s been tough couple of weeks because I picked up some tendonitis and I couldn’t paddle for two and a half weeks,” explained Birkett.

“It has been great getting back into a boat, getting back to full strength,” the Euro Steel athlete said. “Actually I feel fresh so maybe the break was a good thing.”

Birkett was delighted with the result with Hattingh, a former junior K2 world title holder with Jean van der Westhuyzen. “It was actually only our second paddle together in the boat. We sat straight in the boat nicely, and we knew that we would have a hard time against Jakub (Adam) and Jean (van der Westhuyzen) because we train together here in Pietermaritzburg.”

The weekend was thoroughly successful for Michaelhouse ace van der Westhuyzen, who ran away with the junior boys K1 title, and then showed he can bark with the big dogs by winning the senior K2 silver, in a first K2 outing with Adam.

“It was a lot of fun racing with the top guys,” said van der Westhuyzen. “I wasn’t sitting that nicely in the boat because I wasn’t used to that seat, but it was really good fun racing the senior K2 race.”

“It isn’t much fun if there is no competition in your race, so it was awesome to be in a tight race with Andy (Birkett) and Louis (Hattingh),”, he added.

The women’s racing highlighted the strong form of three of the country’s top paddlers. Abby Solms looked solid in dealing with the challenge of Nikki Russell in the women’s K1 race, while Kyeta Purchase was  equally impressive winning the junior girls K1 title against a strong field, before teaming up with her regular K2 partner Jenna’s Ward to win the overall senior women’s K2 title.

The day before Ward, Purchase’s MacSquad team mate, romped to the K1 Under 23 title as part of her preparations for the World Champs in September, where she is looking to go better than the two bronze medals she has won at that level in the past.

“We hadn’t actually planned to peak for this weekend, with SA champs three weeks away, so we will start a taper, which will be a relief because the training has been really hard,” said Ward.

She was excited by her impressive win the women’s K2 28km race with Purchase. “We have been in the double together for two years now, and because she is in the same training squad, we are able to get into the double regularly, which really helps,” said Ward. “We would love go better than our fifth place at last year’s worlds.”

The event was well supported by strong fields of juniors and masters age group paddlers, and served as another dress-rehearsal for the 2017 ICF Marathon World Champs.

SUMMARY OF RESULTS
K2
WOMEN U23
1 Kyeta Purchase Jenna Ward 2:08:50.56

MEN U23
1 Jarryd Gibson Bryan Leroux 2:17:17.45
2 Bailey De Fondaumiere Alex Masina 2:32:41.53
3 Jabulani Gwamanda Nkosikhona Mabaso 2:43:28.01

WOMEN SENIOR
1 Kyeta Purchase Jenna Ward 2:08:50.56
2 Debbie Gillet Natasha Bulbring 2:41:17.45

MEN SENIOR
1 Louis Hattingh Andy Birkett 2:09:59.16
2 Jean Van Der Westhuyzen Jakub Adam 2:10:15.50
3 Jarryd Gibson Bryan Leroux 2:17:17.45

BOYS U14
1 Lindokuhle Maphumulo Langelihle Shozi 1:24:39.27
2 Kwanda Mzolo Mlungisi Hlongwane 1:29:02.21
3 Sanele Masango Ntobeko Shabalala 1:32:54.59

GIRLS U18
1 Sabina Lawrie Christie Mackenzie 1:41:11.93
2 Katie Croudace Jessica Croudace 1:48:35.76
3 Mea Stiglingh Amy Peckett 1:52:03.87

GIRLS U16
1 Katie Croudace Jessica Croudace 1:48:35.76
2 Mea Stiglingh Amy Peckett 1:52:03.87
3 Caitlin Mackenzie Cara Waud 1:53:29.39

BOYS U18 and U16
1 Emanuel Zaloumis Hamish Lovemore 1:46:48.63
2 Sandile Mtolo Minenhle Mbhele 1:48:30.45
3 Siyabonga Hlophe Khumbulani Molefe 1:49:41.91

BOYS U18 and U16
1 Sandile Mtolo Minenhle Mbhele 1:48:30.45
2 Dave Evans Hamish Mackenzie 1:51:02.93
3 Callam Davis Andile Mtolo 1:54:03.17

WOMEN SUB-VETERANS
1 Diana Rietz Ronel Stevens 1:33:26.02
2 Melissa Van Rooyen Lorna Oliver 1:34:22.92

WOMEN VETERANS
1 Kim Peek Marion Young 1:21:16.05
2 Debbie Germiquet Angela Scruby 1:33:26.81

MEN VETERANS
1 Richard Lowe Jason Ekstrand 1:27:26.93
2 Zoog Haynes Lance Howarth 1:28:54.51
3 Warren Valentine Marc Germiquet 1:33:21.09
4 Bryce Hatton Marc Stanton 1:43:06.05

WOMEN SUB-MASTERS
1 Helen Marsh Vanessa Mayhew 1:36:25.55

MEN SUB-MASTERS
1 Gavin Tarr Bryan Taylor 1:38:30.82

WOMEN MASTERS
1 Solly Peckett Merrill King 1:35:41.03

MEN SUB-GRAND MASTERS
1 Nicolas Oldert Theo Smit 1:12:01.80
2 Bruce Wenke Linton Hope 1:12:18.58
3 Chris Woodgate Robert Mc Inerney 1:22:24.86
4 Nigel Briggs Ralph Whiting 1:25:23.22
5 James Earl Edwin Gevers 1:25:40.64

MEN GRAND MASTERS
1 Allan Hold Geoff Thompson 1:20:14.65

MEN SUB GREAT GRAND MASTERS
1 Richard Venniker Tups Tupper 1:29:37.61
2 Stephen Guest Dave Ferrow 1:34:26.26

MEN GREAT GRAND MASTERS
1 Bevin Worlock Willem Deyzel 1:31:21.17

K1
GIRLS U14
1 Nosipho Mthembu 1:14:13.29
2 Nonhlanhla Mkhize 1:30:30.68

BOYS U14
1 Lindokuhle Maphumulo 1:32:37.60
2 Langelihle Shozi 1:34:13.26
3 Kwanda Mzolo 1:36:03.10

GIRLS U18
1 Kyeta Purchase 1:43:18.09
2 Christie Mackenzie 1:47:38.32
3 Donna Hutton 1:49:27.56
4 Sabina Lawrie 1:49:58.92

GIRLS U16
5 Amy Peckett 1:54:29.84
6 Katie Croudace 1:55:01.36
7 Caitlin Mackenzie 2:01:35.09
8 Jessica Croudace 2:04:31.35

BOYS U18
1 Jean Van Der Westhuyzen 1:46:37.71
2 Bailey De Fondaumiere 1:51:42.98
3 Callam Davis 1:54:32.02
4 Stewart Little 1:56:55.03
5 Hamish Mackenzie 1:57:15.25

BOYS U16
1 Callam Davis 1:54:32.02
2 Hamish Mackenzie 1:57:15.25
3 Joshua Giddings 1:57:47.33
4 Dave Evans 1:58:53.04
5 Sandile Mtolo 2:04:31.63

GIRLS U18 AND U16 C1
1 Zimise Makhaye 2:04:28.65
2 Nomvuzo Majola 2:10:22.66

WOMEN U23
1 Jenna Ward 2:03:47.90
2 Julia Trodd 2:08:34.66
3 Lauren Felgate 2:21:21.43

MEN U23
1 Louis Hattingh 2:05:43.37
2 Bryan Leroux 2:09:24.01
3 Don Wewege 2:09:47.46

WOMEN SENIOR
1 Abby Solms 2:16:53.87
2 Nikki Russell 2:17:43.66
3 Debbie Gillett 2:49:22.20

MEN SENIOR
1 Andy Birkett 2:20:10.63
2 Jakub Adam 2:20:13.10
3 Lucas Mthalane 2:39:26.45
4 Wandile Luthuli 2:45:48.97
5 Trevor Hellens 3:00:06.85

MEN C1
1 Mbongiseni Dlamini 2:17:06.14

More information can be found at www.natalcc.co.za