Cape Town - The months of preparation are over for the nine-paddler strong South African team that has been selected for the ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships in Portugal from August 23-26.
The team has covered a numerous bases from an events point of view with a men's K4 entered K2's as well as a number of K1's as the South African paddlers hope to make an impact ahead of 2019's Olympic Games cycle.
Of the male competitors that are taking part Chrisjan Coetzee comes into the event on the back of an impressive season in 2018. The Western Cape paddler qualified for two A Finals in the men's K1 500m at two world cup events earlier in the year.
Despite the 500m not being his favoured event he heads into the World Champs hoping to qualify for the A Final in the 500m and will also paddle the 200m K1 as well as the 500m K4.
Joining Coetzee in the K4 is Mike Arthur, Nick Weeks and David Rodrigues. Arthur is no stranger to international competition and both Weeks and Rodrigues have also represented South Africa at international sprint regatta's in the past.
The youngest K2 that South Africa will be fielding is the duo of Cameron Hudson and Hamish Lovemore. The Under 23 pair will be racing in the K2 1000m event.
The pair were originally selected to race at the Junior and U23 World Championships but have opted to race at a senior level to gain valuable experience.
Heading up the ladies assault on Portugal will be sprint queen Bridgitte Hartley. The London 2012 bronze medallist has changed her distance for this year’s World Championships and she will be racing the K1 1000m and 5000m races.
Hartley, who has not been to a major sprint event since the Rio Olympic Games in 2017, is focusing on the longer distances as she builds up to the ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships in Portugal in early September.
Esti van Tonder produced some solid results at the World Cups earlier in the year and she will be hoping to make an impact in the 200m and 500m K1 events while she will team up with Kayla de Beer for the K2 200m race.
For Van Tonder this year’s World Championship is going to be an important gauge for her as she heads into 2019 with an eye on qualifying for the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020.
Esti van Tonder (K1 200m and 500m K1 and 200m K2), Kayla de Beer (K2 200m), Bridgitte Hartley (K1 1000m and K1 5000m), Chrisjan Coetzee (K1 200m and 500m K4 500m), Mike Arthur (K4 500m), David Rodrigues (K4 500m and K2 200m), Nick Weeks (K4 500m and K2 200m), Cameron Hudson (K2 1000m), Hamish Lovemore (K2 1000m and K1 5000m)