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Segal, Stowman paddle for glory

Two of South Africa’s top all round junior paddlers, Kerry Segal and Luke Stowman, are set to compete against the best junior sprint and flatwater slalom kayakers from around the world, when the canoe/kayak events kick off at the inaugural 2010 Youth Olympic Games in Singapore on Satuday.

The team, along with team manager Mike Chiazzari, have been in Singapore since 10 August training on the course in preparation for the sprint and slalom events.

While neither paddler is a stranger to sprinting, with Segal runner-up Victrix Ludorum at SA Sprint Championships, and Stowman Under-16 Victor Ludorum at SA Schools Sprint Championships, slalom paddling is relatively new discipline for both of these talented youngsters.

Dedication to preparation, and determination to do their best, are two of the characteristics which have gotten these athletes to where they are at this young age.

As a result of this, in the face of the challenge of slalom paddling, both paddlers have dedicated time at home and in Singapore getting to grips with this technical discipline. ÔÇ£Before I left I got some tips from an experienced slalom paddler, Guy Collier, which has definitely helped me a lot. We have managed to do the starting ramp quite well now and it’s actually a lot of fun.ÔÇØ said Segal. ┬áA determined Stowman said: ÔÇ£I am going to go out there and give it my bestÔÇØ.

Both Segal and Stowman feel that the athletes to beat will be the Hungarians in the sprint canoeing and the Australians in the slalom paddling.

The athletes had the last of their training sessions on Thursday and have enjoyed a rest day ahead of Saturday’s racing. Chiazzari, is confident in his team saying; ÔÇ£Both┬áKerry and Luke seem to be very focused, and┬áare feeling and looking good, both on and off the water.ÔÇØ
The sprint events kick off the competition on Saturday, and will be held in a time-trial format, with Segal starting 15th in the girls line-up at 9.05am and Stowman starting in eight at 10:57am in the boys event.

You can follow all the action, start lists and results of the 2010 Youth Olympics at