By Mark Etheridge
London Olympics sprint canoeist Tiffany Kruger has set successive personal best times at the recent World Cup events in Europe.
KwaZulu-Natal based Kruger raced in Szeged, Hungary and then moved on to Racice in the Czech Republic and raced the 500 and 200-metre events at both events, as did fellow South African Estie van Tonder.
On the opening day of competition, Kruger ended seventh in heat two of the 500m, in 2min 06.971 ÔÇô 9.430sec behind winner Katrin Wagner-Augustyn of Germany.
“After World Cup I I was feeling slightly more prepared and my nerves had begin to settle although the pressure is always there,” she told Road to Rio 2016. “My 500m K1 race did not go as planned and I was unlucky to be placed in a heat that pretty much represented the final although it is good experience to race the best. Unfortunately I didn’t progress to the semi-final.
Van Tonder did go through though, with a 2:01.621 fifth spot in her heat and then ended ninth in her semi-final (2:03.00).
Then it was on to the 200m an event that is more a showcase of her talent than the 500m.
“The 200m is definitely my preferred event and it went as planned as I managed another personal best which is satisfying going forward,” she said.
She clocked a 43.746 time in seventh spot for the 200m, yet another personal best after she’d done the same thing in Szeged. That put her into the semi-final where she placed ninth in 44.339.
Van Tonder was also seventh in her heat (44.753) but failed to progress to the final.
The third and final World Cup of the sprint season is in Poznan, Poland on May 31. “The first international races for the year are always an eye opener and a time to settle the nerves ÔÇô my improvements since last year are exciting and knowing I have three years to get to where I want to be is settling. If i can keep improving my times and getting PB’s then I’m on track.
“I now go back to a hard training routine to prepare for the next SA trial where the World Championship team will be selected.”