‘Queen’ grabs double gold

Mandi Maritz of Durban Surf Lifesaving Club showed her class to take a comfortable win in the women’s beach flags event at the national championships
Mandi Maritz of Durban Surf Lifesaving Club showed her class to take a comfortable win in the women’s beach flags event at the national championships
Image: Topfoto.net

Mandi Maritz’s crown as queen of the sand is safe once again, with a double gold at the General Tire Lifesaving National Club Surf Championships in Port Elizabeth on Friday.

Maritz, a silver medalist in the flags at 2018’s world championships, proved irresistible in winning the flags and the sprint. It was a repeat of her performance at Port Elizabeth in 2018.

The veterans in South African lifesaving showed they weren’t willing to let go just yet, with Ryle de Morny also adding gold to his decade of golds at the national championships.

De Morny is the most famed South African flags and beach sprint specialist.

He is also the current world champion in the flags.

De Morny, who in 2017 and 2018 lost to Scottsburgh’s Jonathan Rorke in the sprint final, benefited from Rorke’s disqualification in the semifinal.

Rorke false-started and was given the boot, which was unfortunate as there had been so much pre-championship hype around whether he could do the treble over De Morny.

De Morny had earlier in the day cut his foot, so credit to him for still managing to reclaim his sprint title.

Marine’s Carmel Billson was another of the experienced superstars to deliver on expectation. This has been an incredible week for Billson, who topped the standings in the open female division at the National Pool Championships.

Billson, outstanding in the pool, won the most prestigious Iron race in the female seniors.

It consolidated her standing as South Africa’s leading female in competitive lifesaving.

In 2019, Billson also triumphed as the leading lady at the General Tire Lifesaving South Africa National Stillwater Championships, held in Bloemfontein.

Connor Botha made history when he became the first-ever teenager to win the men’s open run/swim/run.

And the prodigiously talented Botha repeated his success when he also became the first teenager to win the men’s open surf swim. Botha, just 17 years old, beat Marine’s Travis Maasdorp and Fish Hoek’s Nic Notten into second and third place.

Botha is the son of iconic South African lifesaving international Dylan Botha.

Nic Notten came good when it mattered in winning the senior men’s Iron on a day when Anna Notten also won three gold medals for Fish Hoek.

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