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Paddlers race ahead at championships

The Gauteng Canoe Union hosted the annual Canoe Marathon Championships races on June 1 and 2 at Roodeplaat Dam to enable selection to the Gauteng provincial team.

This team will represent the province at the upcoming South African Championships national event which takes place on the weekend of June 14 to 16, also at Roodeplaat Dam in Pretoria.

The international team selection will represent the country at the International Canoe Marathon events which will take place in Metkovic, Croatia from September 19 to 22. The Gauteng Marathon Canoe Union races follow the traditional format with a few different races like the Guppies (U12 who participate in shorter races with a short portage section).

Akhona Makhoba finished fourth in the U16 10km dash race.

Portage is where paddlers take the boat out of the water and run/walk a short distance then display their efficiency at putting the boat back into the water smoothly and quickly to continue racing.

A short 10km dash race also takes place with portages.

The main race for selection to the international team is 20km with a few portages. The ability to get out and back into the water smoothly and efficiently plays an important part in achieving well at the marathon races.

The Doubles (K2) race on Sunday was windy with choppy water splashing over the boats, filling them up and many had swims, withdrew or sank and had to be assisted.

Thabo Selela finished seventh in the highly competitive U23 age category.

Paddlers from the south of Johannesburg, and members of the Johannesburg Canoe Club based at Wemmer pan also participated.

Thabo Selela finished seventh in the highly competitive U23 age category, Akhona Makhoba finished fourth in the U16 10km dash race, and Asanathi Guma, who also raced in the 10km dash event, finished eighth in the U16 category.

The paddlers look forward to participating in the SA Marathon Championships at Roodeplaat.

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