SA paddlers on course for Beijing
10 June 2008
The tussle for South Africa's solitary women's K1 500 metres berth at the Olympic Games resulted in a slice of history being made when the two South African women vying for the place raced into the top five at the World Cup canoeing regatta in Hungary at the weekend.
There was almost nothing to separate them; in the women's 500m K1 A final, Jen Hodson finished fourth, edging home two-hundredths of a second clear of her challenger Bridgette Hartley, to claim the South African Olympic entry.
The final served as the deciding trial for the solitary South African entry into the prestigious Beijing Olympics event. It marked the first time that two South Africans had made it into the A final of the notoriously tough 500 metres K1 event at a major World Cup regatta.
Ever since Hartley produced a shock victory over Hodson in the first trial at Nagle Dam outside Pietermaritzburg earlier in the year, the duo had been locked in a fascinating struggle for the right to contest the blue ribbon event.
That shock result meant the outcome of the pair's performance in the charged atmosphere of Szeged in the season-opening World Cup would decide who would don the green and gold in Beijing in August.
They raced impressively through their respective heats and semi-finals, to set up the dramatic head-to-head showdown in the 500 metres K1 A final to decide the Olympic berth.
The reigning world queen of sprint canoeing Katalin Kovacs won the A final in front of her home fans, with her compatriot Dalma Benedek finishing second and German ace Katrin Wagner-Augustin third. The South African duel in the outside lanes, one and two, resulted in the historic fourth and fifth places going to Hodson and Hartley.
In men's action, Shaun Rubenstein raced into the B finals of the 500 metres and 1000 metres K1 events.
The South African team was also buoyed when the pairing of Nikki Mocke and Michelle Eray reached the B final of the women's 500 metres K2, to end their weekend on a high after the women's K4 challenge ended in the semi finals.
The Gauteng duo of Calvin Mkoto and Radolslaw Olewsky provided the cherry on the top at the end of the weekend by racing into the A final of the Men’s 200m C2 category.
The South African team will remain in Hungary to continue with their pre-Olympic training camp ahead of the next World Cup regatta.
SZEGED WORLD CUP
K1 Women 500 m A Final
- Kovacs Katalin HUN 1:57.776
- Benedek Dalma HUN 1:58.178
- Wagner-Augustin Katrin GER 1:58.796
- Hodson Jennifer RSA 1:59.936
- Hartley Bridgitte RSA 2:00.182
- Zhong Hong Yan CHN 2:01.118
- Paldanius Sophia SWE 2:01.124
- Johnson Carrie USA 2:01.226
- Leonhardt Carolin GER 2:03.236
K1 Men 500 m B Final
- Gustafsson Anders SWE 1:46.644
- Zur Rami USA 1:47.112
- Naes Hattis NOR 1:47.676
- House Morgan USA 1:48.468
- Gubser Remo SUI 1:48.720
- Gubser David SUI 1:49.566
- Hubert Etienne FRA 1:50.856
- Rubenstein Shaun RSA 1:51.414
- Duonela Alvydas LTU 2:12.282
K2 Women 500 m B Final
- Walczykiwicz Marta/Pawelczak Sandra POL 1:56.869
- Oldenhof Lisa/Fogarty Lyndsie AUS 1:57.643
- Nordlow Josefin/Johansson Karin SWE 1:59.767
- Meek Chantal/Davis Hannah AUS 2:00.925
- Andersson Annika/Andersson Emma SWE 2:01.951
- Kakizaki Shiho/Kakizaki Saori JPN 2:03.133
- Mocke Nikki/Eray Michelle RSA 2:04.771
- Paleu Julianna/Catruna Anisoara ROU 2:06.337
- Hagler Katie/Mickle Emily USA 2:06.751
K1 Men 1000 m B Final
- Zupancic Regent Jernej SLO 3:35.761
- Saies Ekaitz ESP 3:37.105
- Nekriosius Ricardas LTU 3:38.317
- Dobos Andras HUN 3:38.659
- Malinauskas Rokas LTU 3:38.851
- Rubenstein Shaun RSA 3:40.039
- Hubert Etienne FRA 3:40.399
- Gubser David SUI 3:40.987
- Debont Kevin BEL 3:42.103
C2 Men 200m A final
- Meng GuangLiang/Yang WenJun CHN 37.729
- Lablickas Raimundas/Gadeikis Tomas LTU 37.831
- Russell Andrew/Beauchesne-Sevigny Gabriel CAN 38.929
- Vegh Attila/Kovacs Gergely HUN 38.989
- Furdok Gabor/Horvath Gabor HUN 39.751
- Dumitrescu Liviu/Frusinosu Andrei ROU 41.833
- Ruzicic Dusan/Mikovic Nenad SER 42.325
- Mkoto Calvin/Olewsky Radoslaw RSA 48.091
Source: Canoeing South Africa