Action a plenty at day two of SA champs

Despite Mother Nature's best efforts to put a dampener on affairs at day two of the SA flatwater marathon champs at Shongweni dam on Sunday, on the water the action was sizzling hot and there was simply no stopping Hank McGregor and Grant van der Walt as the pair powered their way to front of the pack and crossed the line just seconds ahead of the rest of the field.

With no less than five former world champs on the senior men's start line and a wealth of marathon experience to add the race always promised to be a humdinger of a contest and the small crowd who braved the cold and wet were certainly treated to a tremendous encounter as each of the top four pairs exchanged blows and tested one another throughout the race.

It was the superiority of McGregor and van der Walt though though that saw the pair narrowly edge out the experienced Ant Stott and Graeme Solomon and the rising talent of Michael Mbanjwa and Eric Zondi over the final hundred metres.

In the women's race it was a one horse race from the word go as Michelle Eder and Donna Winter made their way around the course unchallenged throughout and came home well ahead of second placed Debbie Germiquet and Carmen Blakeney.
Earlier in the day the junior boys race saw the Cape duo of Craig Flanagan and Dominic Notten put in an incredible performance in the closing stages to recover from a dramatic spill midway through the race with the pair ultimately getting the better of their fellow U18 paddlers in the final sprint to claimed the overall honours.
“It was a tricky situation as we all came into the portage quite close together and the guys behind us tried to switch sides as they approached the jetty and in so doing they just clipped the back of our boat and over we went,” said Notten.

"At that moment I really thought it was all over but we got up and put in a really strong portage and when we put in again the others were only twenty or so metres ahead of us and we knew we weren't out of it just yet."

"We dug deep and once we caught them we decided the next portage was where we were going to make our move and fortunately it all worked out for us," he added.

The cape storm continued its successful ways in the juniors girls section as junior boys winner Craig Flanagan's younger sister Kirsten and her partner Jodi Cleworth, despite both still being under sixteen, resoundingly paddled their way to the top step of the podium ahead of Emma Horner and Catherine Atkinson.

With the SA champs having been completed both paddlers and canoeing enthusiasts alike now eagerly await the announcement of the names of those who have been chosen for the national squad to represent South Africa at the World champs in Singapore in October.