Cape Town — Top paddlers have given the thumbs up to the new professional team element introduced in to the Isuzu Berg River Canoe Marathon that starts in Paarl on July 9 this year.
“This is going to add a new dimension to the race,” said defending champion Hank McGregor. “In the old days, the team event was based on provincial lines, which was difficult for paddlers from outside of the Cape.
“But now there is excellent prize money for this team competition, and it shows that the race is changing with the times,” McGregor said.
The team competition caters for teams of three of four paddlers, with three results to count, to contest a first prize of R60 000, with R20 000 for the second team and R10 000 for the third team. This is in addition to individual prizes won by the paddlers.
“Sport is changing fast, and many of the top paddlers are part of a professional team setup that is involved in many different disciplines,” said Andre Collins, the head of the race organising committee.
Team sponsors will pay R13 000 to enter the elite team competition.
To ensure that the race is competitive, the rules prevent any paddler who has finished in the top three in the past three years from being in the same team. That precludes McGregor, Graeme Solomon, Gert van Deventer, Len Jenkins, Simon van Gysen and Paul Marais from being on the same team.