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Good Dusi showing for ERK paddlers

Andy Birkett and Matthew Fenn won the men’s race, while Abby Solms and Jessica Benn walked away with the women’s title.

The East Rand Kayaking (ERK) Club’s Liam Stewart was the club’s top finisher at the Dusi Canoe Marathon that started in Pietermaritzburg on February 15 and concluded at the Blue Lagoon in Durban on February 17.

Stewart and his partner, Mark Garden from Dabulamanzi Canoe Club, Emmarentia Dam, clocked a combined time of 08:38:49 to finish the three-day race 28th overall in the K2 category.

The duo concluded the 42km day-one distance in 02:58:33 in the 21st position. Day two was much tougher for the pair as they slipped to 34th after arriving at their overnight stop at Inanda Dam in 03:01:19 following a hard 46km, which included a 3,5km of compulsory portaging in the Umgeni River.

Michael Stewart and James Russel. Photo: Gameplan Media.

Day three was much quicker for Stewart and Garden as they arrived 26th at the Blue Lagoon in 02:38:56, finishing 28th overall and 13th in their category.

Boksburg residents Mike Barry and Richard Tandy were 68th overall and fourth in the senior men’s category in a combined time of 10:06:47.

Stewart’s father, Michae,l and his partner, James Russell, finished 95th overall and sixth in the masters’ category after clocking 10:57:51.

Mike Barry and Richard Tandy. Photo: Gameplan Media.

Springs resident Tye Wood and partner Jonathan Nel from Boksburg were 122nd with a combined time of 11:53:03, and veteran paddler Leon Maritz from Benoni podiumed in the sub-grandmasters’ category after finishing third. He clocked 14:40:39, finishing 16th overall.

The Gauteng Canoe Union media liaison, Jennie Dallas, congratulated the paddlers for representing the province with pride.

Legendary canoeist Andy Birkett claimed his 14th Dusi crown to continue his monopoly on the race.

Jonathan Nel and Tye Wood. Photo: Gameplan Media.

Birkett and partner Matthew Fenn beat Msawenkosi Mtolo and Sbonelo Khwela, who held a slender 01:07 seconds lead on day one, to the title after clocking a combined 07:19:35 to win the men’s race.

Abby Solms and Jessica Benn claimed the women’s title in 08:33:02, while Mmeli Cele won the K1 race in 09:05:39.

Also Read: Weeks and Gerber win at provincial champs

Also Read: Jacobs takes K1 and K2 spoils during provincials


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