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Hartley working hard

By Mark Etheridge

Our London Olympics canoeing hopeful, Bridgitte Hartley’s preparations have taken her to four different countries as she bids for boating glory later this year.

Hartley provisionally qualified a K1 boat after last year’s sprint world championships in Szeged, Hungary and has been hard at work honing her game.

To this effect she’s been in England, America, South Africa and Norway where she’s focused on different aspects of her armoury.

And it hasn’t all been about the canoe, she’s also tweaked other areas of her game.

She’s also had a good hard look at the actual course to be used for the Games which get underway on July 27. “I was in the UK training on the Olympic course for two weeks at the beginning of November, training with the British girls squad who have qualified a women’s K4, K1, 500m and K1 200m paddlers,” Hartley told Road to London 2012 on Tuesday.

“Then I was in Florida, US for a solid month of training with girls from Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Norway and Canada ÔÇô a large girls group which was super good.”

It was time to come home to Richard’s Bay at the end of last year. “I spent December training at home and then on 30 Dec I flew to Norway for a two-week cross country skiing camp with some of the girls whom I had trained with in Florida. We were seven girls for the first week. One Canadian, Finnish, Swedish, South African and three Norwegian girls. We spent a lot of time on the mountains and even went skiing at night as it gets dark before 4pm and there is a track with lights!

The second week I was in Oslo, Norway’s capital and we still had a skiing session every morning along with weights and paddling ergo at the kayak club there. It was a great start to the new year of training without the distractions of festivities which carry over into the first week of New Year! And I managed to start with a solid block of training with other girls motivating me and vice versa.”

And the training just doesn’t stop for the young blonde powerhouse. “I’m currently on a training camp with the British girls squad who I went over to train with in UK. They are now here in South Africa so I am joining them in Port Edward on the KwaZulu-Natal south coast.”