Battle of the Fish begins

HUNDREDS of enthusiasts yesterday flocked to Cradock for what promises to be an exciting Hansa Fish River Canoe Marathon that sets off today.

This year, it will all be about the K2, with some impressive pairings taking part in the event.

The two-day event covers a distance of 82km – with the first day being 47km.

The late entry from surf-ski powerhouses Dawid Mocke of Cape Town and Matt Bouman of Durban, has thrown the race wide open.

The ever-impressive Hank McGregor, who was recently crowned Flatwater Marathon World Champion, will team up with Grant van der Walt.

McGregor will be highly motivated as he is on the brink of making history by being the first person to win five double titles.

"Fisher King", as Len Jenkins is affectionately known, will be hoping to transform his K1 form to the doubles, as he teams up with Port Elizabeth's Greg Louw who has a wealth of experience.

Other serious contenders will be under-23 Marathon World champion Andy Birkett, who teams up with Cam Schoeman, while this year's Dusi winner, Lance Kime and Valley of a Thousand Hills hero Thulani Mbanjwa are also in with a chance.

Defending women's K2 champion Abby Adie will Waltbe looking to reclaim her 2011 glory, but this time with a new partner in Anna Adamova.

Adie's 2011 partner, Hilary Pitchford, will have the same goal in her sights when she partners Brittany Petersen.

Top paddlers Robyn Kime and Olympic bronze medallist Bridgitte Hartley will also aim for a podium finish.