Canoeing South Africa have named a trio of athletes for the Youth Olympic games final trials in Barcelona, Spain in April after completing domestic trials earlier this month.
With strict protocol to follow, the team selected for the final trial could only have four members, two male and two female paddlers.
The format of the paddling competition is a combined sprint (head to head) and flatwater slalom for both K1 and C1.
The range of paddlers that qualify, from an age perspective, is very narrow (athletes must have been born between 1 January 2002 and 31 December 2003).
The ICF have decided to hold a qualifying event to select the paddlers who will be allowed to compete.
The South African contingent consists of Pierre van der Westhuyzen, Kwanda Mzolo and Lizzie Conradie. Mathew Millward is the boys reserve.
The stand-out performance was Van Der Westhuyzen who won both the Sprint and Slalom events. Mzolo and Millward both got second places, Mzolo came second in the K1 Sprint event and Millward came second in the Slalom.
When the times from both events were combined it was a Mzolo who came out two seconds in front.
‘We have had two previous tours to the Youth Olympic games and every tour our results have improved,’ CSA sprint coach Craig Mustard said.
‘In Nanjing 2014 Donna Hutton finished in a respectable sixth place. The talent and speed of this year’s team is really high and I’m positive we will improve on the 2014 sixth place.’
President of Canoeing South Africa Kim Pople is excited by this next generation of paddler and wishes them all the best in the quest to qualify for the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires from 6-18 October.
‘This is an incredible opportunity for Lizzie, Kwanda and Pierre, and now the hard work starts for them, as they compete for a spot of the Youth Olympic Games
‘We at Canoeing SA are very excited to see so many youngsters committing to the Olympic disciplines,’ Pople added.
Picture of Conradie courtesy of Gameplan Media