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Kruger makes her move, to Pretoria… and hopefully Rio

By Mark Etheridge

London Olympics canoeist Tiffany Kruger is already making her move to ensure she books her place at the next Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, 2016.

And that move is quite a literal one and has seen her move provinces to fulfil her dream.

She told Road to Rio 2016: “This year is full of change, new opportunities and challenges and at the beginning of March I decided to move from Durban to Pretoria, an extremely hard decision but one I’m happy to have made.

“Roodeplaat has great training facilities where we are able to train in lanes allowing us to get maximum race practice, I am currently being coached under Fouche Van Tonder, who has taught me so much already and has so much to offer. There is an elite training squad to train with on a daily basis where I am being pushed continually.”

Kruger raced the 200-metre K1 sprint event in London two years ago where she was eliminated in the heats.

“One of the main reasons for relocating is to paddle K2 with Esti Van Tonder, our Under-23 World Championships finalist last year [see picture right]. We need to train together daily to get to know each other 100%, we are happy with our progress so far and I’m positive that by next year’s Olympic qualification we will be prepared and ready.”

There are also other plans in the pipeline though. “Another exciting venture which has miraculously come together with in the past two weeks is the building of a K4 crew boat. The boat will be stroked by nine-time world champion and 11-time European Champion paddler Timea Paksy of Hungary, who has recently relocated to Pretoria.

“Sitting second will be Kayla de Beer, a junior paddler with huge potential for the future, and third and fourth will be the K2 boat of myself and Esti. A crew boat requires lots of time and dedication we are positive that the potential of the athletes in the boat and the hunger for success will lead to a successful future.

“We’ll be racing for the first time in these crew boats at the South African championships held this weekend at Nagle Dam. From there we’re hoping to be selected for the SA team to compete at the World Cups in May (16-18th in Czech Republic, and 23-25 in Hungary).”

Then its on to the World Championships in Moscow, Russia (7-10 August)

“These are all crucial competitions and we need as much international racing as possible leading up to the Olympic Qualifications next year in Milan, Italy. All our training is on track ÔÇô we are prepared and ready, now all we hope is that there is enough funding for us to compete internationally,” concluded Kruger.