Stiff competition likely at Fish

ACE paddler Greg Louw knows that defending champions Hank McGregor and Grant van der Walt will be tough to beat, but he says he and Len Jenkins are ready for the challenge in the Hansa Fish River Canoe Marathon at the end of the month.

The 32nd edition of one of the world's greatest canoe races was launched yesterday and Louw said he was anticipating a strong entry. The race in Cradock is a K2 event and will take place on September 27-28.

Looking ahead to the race, Louw said: "I know there are going to be quite a few paddlers from the Czech Republic entering and that is going to make it strong competition.

"Of course, there will be Hank and Grant, and then there is also Andy Birkett and Cam Schoeman. And Len and I will be chasing them as well."

While much of the focus, naturally, is on the top contenders, the race organisers have not forgotten those just starting out in the sport.

Money raised this year will go to the Eastern Cape Canoe Union development programme, which assists communities interested in canoeing and raises funds to buy equipment used for the sport.

Two Mdantsane products of the programme, Thembalethu Vellem and Lazola Gobo, said they were relishing the challenge.