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Shaun, Mike to move

By Mark Etheridge

Johannesburg and Durban’s loss will soon be Cape Town’s gain when ace canoeing combination Shaun Rubenstein and Mike Arthur relocate to the Mother City.

This is all part of the plan to excel in the 2012 Olympics in London, England.

The two recently returned from the World Marathon Championships in Crestumo, Portugal where they won silver in the senior men’s category.

Currently Rubenstein, a 2008 Beijing Olympian and a member of SASOC’s elite OPEX squad of potential 2012 medallists, is currently based in Johannesburg and Arthur in Durban.

“Mike and I are committed to giving the new 200m K2 a good go for the Olympics but we need to be able to train together all the time to make our efforts a success so we are planning to move to Cape Town in January next year so that we can work together on the water every day,” says Rubenstein.

‘If we want a medal in London we need to do things 100% professionally. The 200m is the new Olympic distance and its a race that I have always done but never really trained for so I’m pretty excited about the challenge ahead. My first race is only in April next year so I have a long time to do some good hard work to get myself in perfect form for next season.

Rubenstein picked up bilharzia during 2009 which certainly affected his form and with this in mind he has adapted his competition schedule.

“I won’t be doing Dusi or any other of the river races until after the Olympics so that I don’t get sick again.”

As far as the choice of Cape Town as a venue goes, Rubenstein explained: “Mike doesn’t want to live in Jo’burg and I don’t want to live in Durban so for us to be able to train together and be happy, Cape Town is the place. The Western Province Canoe Union is in the process of trying to set up a new sprint course, probably near Franschhoek, which will be brilliant for our training. We’re also very excited to work with the team of specialists at the Sport Science Institute in Cape Town because with the 200m being a new Olympic distane, there will have to be a lot of research and testing done.

“And lastly we are expecting some tough weather conditions in London at the Olympics so we hope that by training in Cape Town it will get us hardened for any weather situation.’

Looking back at his year as he starts a break of around three weeks, Rubenstein had this to say: “I’m very happy with how I did, especially after the tough time that I had┬á with illness this year. I struggled at the 1000m at the World Sprints (in Canada) so I was worried that I was definitely not going to last a marathon which is 32km. The treatment that I had on my return from Canada must have helped a fair bit because I was feeling much better and was able to really compete at the top level again which felt great.

“Fourth in the K1 is a tough position because you work so hard and in the end you get nothing even though after two hours 20min of races I was only one second back and second in the K2 is also tough as I was so close to winning. I am satisfied however because I feel as if I did my best in both races and that I managed to keep my head and come through a tough season (almost) on top.’