Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Hank McGregor and Alexa Cole claim gold twice at the SA Marathon Championships

Hank McGregor reached this last weekend his sixth South African Marathon Championship by winning two golds at the K1 and the K2 competitions, while Alexa Cole made exactly the same in both disciplines at the women's races. This way, both got two tickets for the next Marathon World Championships to be held at Rome in September, as this championships worked too as SA national trials.

Photo: Orka paddles
Under a cold and rainy weather at Mofam Dam, closed to Cape Town, the races were not particularly crowded, due to the start of the winter season in the Southern hemisphere, but quality of the contestants was really high. At the start line, a clear favorite, current world champion Hank McGregor, and a good bunch of aspirants, including world medalist Len Jenkins Jr., the Mocke brothers, experienced Graeme Solomon or the recent winner of the surfski Eurochallenge Simon van Gysen.

Not much action for the first half of the race, with a solid group on the lead, but all of them with an eye on McGregor's movements, as everybody was concerned that he was the one to control the pace.

Copyright: John Hishin/ Cape Town Sport Photography

With half of the race done, it was Jenkins the one who tried to shake that relative calm and he managed to break up after a portage, making a selection that it was finally the one who decided the podium. Jenkins, McGregor and van Gysen were those three paddlers fighting for the medals and, as it was expected, McGregor set a demanding pace at the last portage, to make a strong last lap with his two rivals on his wash. The one from Durban claimed this way gold, just a few seconds ahead of Len Jenkins, silver, and Simon van Gysen, bronze. McGregor keeps going in his successful carrer, where lately only the Dusi Marathon seems to resist. With a rather big gap, about four minutes behind, Jasper Mocke and Graeme Solomon took fourth and fifth positions, both maybe relaxing after falling down from the leading bunch having in mind the K2 race on Sunday.

Concerning the women, Alexa Cole won easily the singles title, leading by 6 minutes the young promise Robyn Kime, U23 winner, and the also U23 Bianca Beavitt, who took bronze. At this link you can check all the results of Saturday's races.

Photo: Orka paddles. Alexa Cole, two golds winner
 On Sunday, favoritism was not so clear. Everything pointed to Hank McGregor and Grant van der Walt, but Grant didn't look recovered from a back injury he was trying to heal for the last weeks. In fact, he didn't paddle the K1 and that evening, when everybody was watching Springboks playing rugby (you know what that means in South Africa...), van der Walt was testing on the kayak and doing some portages to see his evolution. Next morning, McGregor offered him not to race if wasn't confident about his back, but van der Walt felt he was likely to do a good job, so finally they were at the start. As nobody knew how the favourites could react in this situation, the race was very tactic, with a leading group that had six boats for the main part of the competition. The portages, with such a big group, were the main conflict during the race and the firsts paying for it were Graeme Solomon and Dawid Mocke, who got a hit in his kayak resulting in a hole that they managed to repair, but who made them lose contact with the front bunch.

The remaining five boats managed to keep the pace, despite the efforts of Jenkins and his partner, the sprinter Greg Louw, to break up at the portages. They even managed to make a small gap that McGregor and van der Walt managed to close in the water, carrying on their wash the rest of the contestants. Finally, in a very fast last lap again McGregor and van der Walt showed their superiority in the long distance and managed to win an spectacular sprint with the five couples fighting for the medals and two tickets for Rome. Finally, silver and the second place at the National Team went to two surfski specialists like they are Jasper Mocke and the promising Simon van Gysen, while the young Lance Kime and Heinrich Schloms claimed bronze and left without reward the great race of Jenkins and Louw, as well as Sean Rice and Brandon van der Walt, back in fifth place but taking the U23 title.

In the ladies race, again Alexa Cole took gold, this time with her partner Eloise van Gysen. They had an easy win on two U23 rivals who took silver and bronze, like they are Robyn Kime/Kirsten Pedersen and Brittany Petersen/Kim van Gysen, who closed this way a succesful weekend for her family.

As there is no full list file of results for Sunday races, I directly print them below.

Photo: Orka paddles

Senior Men
1.Hank McGregor/Grant van der Walt 2:17:31.31
2.Simon van Gysen/Jasper Mocke 2:17:32.90
3.Lance King/Heinrich Schloms 2:17:33.63
4.Len Jenkins/Greg Louw 2:17:34.20
5.Sean Rice/Brandon van der Walt 2:17:41.01

Senior Women
1.Alexa Cole/Eloise van Gysen 2:13:26.07
2.Kirsten Penderis/Robyn Kime 2:15:54.41
3.Brittany Petersen/Kim van Gysen 2:16:03.33

U23 Women
1 Bianca Beavitt/Melanie van Niekerk 1:57:11.14
2 Marisa Pretorius/Esti van Tonder 2:00:57.81

U23 Men
1 Sean Rice/Brandon van der Walt 1:57:40.89
2 Ivan Kruger/Joseph Williams 2:01:32.48
3 Luke Stowman/Daniel Louis Buys 2:10:34.77

Girls U14
1 Justine Williams/Jermaine Goeieman 1:16:51.07
2 Bianca van Zyl/Nicole Smith 1:18:03.05

Boys U14
1 Mpilo Zondi/Andreas Beukes 1:10:46.37
2 James Horner/Bongani Ntinga 1:17:30.14
3 Alex Masina/Andrew Shuter 1:17:54.96

Girls U16
1 Kirsty Flanagan/Amy Hare 1:29:23.45

Boys U16
1 Johan Ubbink/David Rodrgues 1:54:07.94
2 Mthobisi Cele/Ndumiso Ngcobo 1:54:28.68
3 Francois Roux/David Methuizen 2:01:22.99

Girls U18
1 Kirsty Flanagan/Amy Hare 1:29:23.45
2 Kerry Shuter/Kerry Segal 1:34:07.68
3 Candice Murray/Kaylie Beers 1:38:17.31

Boys U18
1 Craig Flanagan/Dom Notten 1:40:29.11
2 Emile Thenissen/Jordan Zeelie 1:44:11.33
3 Kenny Rice/Nick Notten 1:44:12.66

No comments:

Post a Comment