Swellendam — A pair of young, newly crowned World Champions will headline the Breede River Marathon this weekend when Western Province provincial titles are at stake in one of the country’s oldest canoeing events.
The 55th “Breede” will see the Western Cape’s top crews battling for the K2 Marathon River Championship title on Saturday and Sunday in a two-stage race between Robertson and Swellendam.
Among the list of entries is the recently crowned Junior World Champions Georgia Singe and Holly Smith, who will be hoping to continue on their winning ways after claiming the gold medals in Denmark just over a week ago.
The Peninsula Canoe Club combination will face a slightly different challenge in the Breede River this weekend, with rapids, tree blocks and island channels added to the speed and tactics needed last week to out-paddle their rivals on the flatwaters of Lake Jels in Denmark.
Singe and Smith are surely the overwhelming favourites to claim the junior women’s title, but after their international heroics are also contenders for the overall women’s victory. They will however have to be at their world-beating best to see off the challenge of older and more experienced river racing crews of Melanie van Niekerk and Kira Bester, and Candice Starr and Berg River Marathon winner Christy Shrimpton.
In the men’s race, Jeremy Maher and David Evans are probably the crew to beat and the two U23s, who both ended in the top four of the Breg River Marathon in July, are likely to dominate. They will face a challenge from fellow Berg River Marathon top-ten finishers Thomas Lovemore and Israeli Ron Benjano, as well as Mark Keeling and Luke le Roux, Murray Starr and Daniel Jacobs, Heinrich Schloms and John de Villiers, and Ross Leslie and Hamish Mackenzie.
The race starts at Robertson and the overnight stop is 37km downstream at Riggton Farm, Bonnievale. Day 2 is 33km and finishes at Kam’bati River Resort near Swellendam.