The ICF Canoe Marathon Masters World Cup kicked off this week’s marathon action in Vila de Prado, Portugal, where once again the strength of the South African men’s and women’s masters racing bagged them 24 medals over two days.
On the opening day, the marathon hosted the K1 events which saw the South African team win six gold and four silver medals, with Allan Hold taking home the first silver medal in the men’s 65-69 K1 showdown.
In the men’s 70-74 K1 race, Brian Longley was too strong for the rest of the field, winning the race by just over two minutes. Radoslaw Olszewski was also in fine form in the C1 men’s 55-59 race where he won by almost four minutes.
The SA team didn’t have to wait long into the afternoon session to bag their first medals, with Nic Oldert and Theo Smit claiming first and second position in the 60-64 men’s K1 race. Pierre van der Merwe missed out just by three seconds from making it an all-South African podium.
Amy van Rooyen was the first woman to earn a medal when she got bronze in the women’s 35-39 age category K1 race. Following her, was Mary Burton who won the women’s 65-69 race by an impressive five minutes and 13 seconds.
Berg River Canoe Marathon champion Graeme Solomon took home a gold medal with a 0.43sec victory margin in the men’s 45-49 age category. He was followed by Wayne Jacobs who added the ninth South African medal for the day, wining silver in the men’s 35-39 race.
It was the current South African senior team star Jasper Mocké’s older brother Dawid Mocké, who concluded the action for day one when he won his first gold medal in the men’s 40-44 age category by an impressive 22 seconds.
Tuesday’s K2 action proved to be just as fruitful for Team SA as they managed to add 10 more medals in the men’s and women’s doubles events, taking the teams tally to 20 medals before the popular mixed doubles events.
Colin Wilson and Nic Oldert got the ball rolling with a gold medal in the men’s 55-59 age category, where they raced against fellow South Africans Colin Simpkins and Ronald Pronk who had to settle for second place.
Theo Smit and Pierre van der Merwe took first place after winning the men’s 60-64 race, while Johan van Rooyen and Vincent Buttrick won South Africa’s first bronze medal in the 70-74 age group.
In the women’s K2 action Debbie Gillett and Lyn Bennett won silver in the 35-39 race and was followed by a silver medal from Lis Hart and Romy Findlay (pictured above) in the 45-49 race.
Adding with two golds was Mary Burton paired with Elizabeth Russell and Caroline Henderson with Jacquelyn Buttom in the 55-59 and 60-64 race’s respectively.
Radoslaw Olszewski grabbed another medal in the men’s C2 race when he won gold, then the South African team won two additional medals in the mixed race’s.
Gavin Dundas-Starr and Lyn Bennett won silver in the 40-44 race and Chris Visser and Caroline Henderson won bronze in the 55-59 mixed category.
The South African team will start their ICF Canoe Marathon World Championship bid on Thursday.
Photo: Wilson on the charge during his K2 race where he partnered with Nicolas Oldert and won gold in the men’s 55-59 age group, and Findlay and Hart celebrating silver, supplied by Gameplan Media