SA team end World Champs with four medals

THE final day of the 2023 ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships in Vejen, Denmark proved to be a case of close but no medals as the South African team finished seventh on the overall medal table.

Two tight fourth-place finishes was just not enough as the Nicole Birkett / Jade Wilson and Bruno Cochrane / Luke Salmon crews ended tantalisingly close to medal positions in the women’s and juniors’ medal positions respectively on the final day’s action on Sunday.

Birkett and Wilson approached the final sprint in the women’s doubles race as part of the lead group, but just could not get into the top three and cruelly ended one place away from a medal, despite finishing a mere 1.43 seconds behind the winners Vanda Kiszli and Emese Kohalmi from Hungary.

The Spanish duo of Tania Fernandez and Tania Alvarez claimed the silver while the second Hungarian boat of Csilla Rugasi and Panna Csepe picked up the bronze, just half a second ahead of Birkett and Wilson.

The Durban pairing of training partners Saskia Hockly and Michelle Burn finished eighth.

In the junior race, Vicente Vergauven and Joaquin Catalano from Argentina were relatively comfortable winners after breaking away, with Hungarians Daniel Zemen and Arpad Kekesi ending in the silver-medal position. Spaniards Ruben Castilla and Arturo Aguilar claimed the final step of the podium with Cochrane and Salmon just two seconds outside a medal spot.

The second South African crew of Jared Shrimpton and Ryley Smith finished 11th.

The final race of the championships saw the two South African crews unable to make an impact and the Wayne Jacobs / Bradley Boulle and Hamish Lovemore / Clinton Cook pairings ended 12th and 15th respectively in the men’s K2.

With one gold, one silver and two bronze medals, the South African team ended in a solid seventh overall on the medal table. Georgia Singe and Holly Smith’s victory in the junior K2 was the highlight of the week for South African, while Andy Birkett (silver, men’s K1), Christie Mackenzie (bronze, women’s K1) and Saskia Hockly (bronze, women’s U23) completed the medal count.

Georgia Singe (right) and Holly Smith’s victory in the junior K2 was the highlight of the week for South Africa at the ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships in Denmark this week.


1 Vanda Kiszli / Emese Kohalmi (HUN) 01:53:31.57
2 Tania Fernandez / Tania Alvarez (ESP) 01:53:32.00
3 Csilla Rugasi / Panna Csepe (HUN) 01:53:32.45
4 Nicole Birkett / Jade Wilson (RSA) 01:53:33.00
8 Saskia Hockly / Michelle Burn (RSA) 01:54:06.58

1 Vicente Vergauven / Joaquin Catalano (ARG) 01:31:13.37
2 Daniel Zemen / Arpad Kekesi (HUN) 01:31:26.07
3 Ruben Castilla / Arturo Aguilar (ESP) 01:31:36.58
4 Bruno Cochrane / Luke Salmon (RSA) 01:31:38.88
11 Jared Shrimpton / Ryley Smith (RSA) 01:34:28.59

1 Jose Ramalho / Fernando Pimenta (POR) 01:54:35.11
2 Quentin Urban / Jeremy Candy (FRA) 01:54:35.89
3 Jon Vold / Eivind Vold (NOR) 01:54:36.42
12 Wayne Jacobs / Bradley Boulle (RSA) 01:56:00.51
15 Hamish Lovemore / Clinton Cook (RSA) 01:58:43.15

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