20 July 2018

South Africa: Nine-Strong SA Team for Sprint World Champs

Canoeing South Africa has named a nine-member team to take part in next month's ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships in Portugal, with an eye on Olympic qualification and the long term development of the discipline.

Announced in the team are a number of paddlers who are no strangers to sprint world championships and a handful who will be making their first appearances at the global showpiece next month.

'We have a very interesting mix going to world champs this year, with a men's K4 going for the first time in many years,' CSA President Kim Pople mentioned. 'Young Hamish Lovemore and Cam Hudson racing in the K2 1000m as well as Bridgitte Hartley taking on the longer races will be interesting.

'Chrisjan (Coetzee) and Esti (Van Tonder) both had great World Cups earlier in the year and we will be looking forward to seeing how they go in their K1 and K2 races.

'With Olympic selection coming up next year it is going to be exciting to see how we go at the World Champs and we will give it a good go at the Olympic qualifiers next year.

'Good luck to the team and we are excited to see how they go watching the live streaming back home.'

Amongst the experienced members of the squad are South African sprint queen Bridgitte Hartley, Chrisjan Coetzee and Van Tonder while newcomers to senior international sprint competition include Lovemore, Mike Arthur, Hudson, Kayla de Beer, David Rodrigues and Nick Weeks.

Hartley's comeback to sprint racing will see the 2012 Olympic bronze medallist take on the longer races and not the short sprints that she became famous for. With the Marathon World Championships later in the year Hartley is taking part in the K1 1000m and K1 5000m events.

Coetzee has come on impressively in 2018 and in the recent World Cup events in Szeged and Duisburg Coetzee managed to make two A Finals in his less fancied 500m K1 race - which has subsequently become his main focus for the World Championships.

He will also race in the 200m K1 event as well as the 500m K4 race.

Coetzee will look to impart all of his knowledge of racing internationally when he teams up with Nick Weeks, Mike Arthur and David Rodrigues in the men's 500m K4.

Rodrigues and Weeks will also team up for a K2 race. They will be flying the South African flag in the K2 200m.

Under-23 athlete Lovemore will be another to take on the longer distances at his first world championships. The youngster from Durban will be racing in the K1 5000m and will join Cameron Hudson in the K2 1000m.

Van Tonder will lead the women's charge in the shorter sprint races, with her eyes on the 200m and 500m K1 events.

Van Tonder will also race in a K2 with De Beer in the 200m race.

South African team for ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships 2018

Esti van Tonder (K1 200m and 500m K1 and 200m K2), Kayla de Beer (K2 200m), Bridgitte Hartley (K1 1000m and K1 5000m), Chrisjan Coetzee (K1 200m and 500m K4 500m), Mike Arthur (K4 500m), David Rodrigues (K4 500m and K2 200m), Nick Weeks (K4 500m and K2 200m), Cameron Hudson (K2 1000m), Hamish Lovemore (K2 1000m and K1 5000m)

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