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Hartley starts 2014 in training mode as SA sport celebrates

By Mark Etheridge

She comes from one of the hottest and most humid regions of South Africa but our Olympic gold medallist Bridgitte Hartley bucked the trend this year.

Sprint canoeist Hartley has left Richard’s Bay, KwaZulu-Natal behind for now and welcomed the New Year in the icy climes of Scandinavia.

A bronze medallist in the 500m K1 sprint event at the 2012 Olympics in London, Hartley has her head focused on her sport.

“I’m celebrating New Year in snow during a training camp this year! Otherwise two weeks of festive fun for Xmas and New Year means I loose out too much training,” she told Road to Rio 2015.

“So 2014 starts with snow fall! I’m in Norway until 11 January then return home to a small test/trial at the end of January to set a bench mark after the base season and do some testing in Pretoria.”

After that it’s back to the coast for Hartley. “I have a camp with my coach, some Austrians, a Norwegian and a Slovakian in Port Edward during February and I also hope to follow the Dusi for two days.

“I’m training at home until the end of April when I leave for Europe to race the World Cup series.”

The World Cup starts in Milan, Italy then moves to Racice, Czech Republic two weeks later and then on to Szeged, Hungary.

“I’m back home in June and then World Champs takes place at the beginning of August in Moscow, Russia. Canoeing isn’t part of Commonwealth so we have world champs instead.”

Meanwhile other SA sportsmen celebrated around the globe.

Top 20 finisher in the Olympic triathlon event in 2012, Gillian Sanders is still based in London: “Down to the pub for dinner with friends. Probably in bed before 12… the coach has a New Year’s Day track session planned for 9-30am!”

Said 3000m steeplechase champion Nolene Conrad: “About to board the Ferry boat to Phi Phi Island. Can’t wait for an amazing New years Eve party.

ÔǼLondon 2012 Paralympian equestrian competitor, Wendy Moller is now based on the Russian island of Sakhalinsk.

“I was supposed to go to the ice bar! Its just a huge piece of snow they cut ÔÇô so just a piece of ice and they sit around and have drinks but its too cold for me, my circulation is too bad to sit outside…we are expecting another snow storm tomorrow I feel like a snow man!”

Fellow Paralympian, and 2012 bronze medallist, Jonathan Ntutu said: “Just training. Nothing special. Maybe next year.”