Wewege grabs fifth SA Slalom crown

Run Ride Dive News

Dihlabeng – Don Wewege grabbed his fifth back-to-back national K1 slalom title at the Dihlabeng Mall SA Slalom Canoe Championships on the Ash River in the Eastern Free State as drama-laced action determined the make-up of the podium.

Wewege, who’s primary focus this year is trying to secure qualification for the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games next year, held off a gallant charge from Dihlabeng youngster Success Mahlaba, who in turn held off Maritzburg College schoolboy Brandon Orpwood in third.

“The standard of competition was very high this year and the quality of paddling from the paddlers at the local Dihlabeng club was exceptional,” said Wewege (Maxpaddle/SecondSkins), a product of the KZN Elite Athlete Development Programme.

Run Ride Dive News

Don Wewege used his experience and composure to down a brave challenge from Success Mahlaba to claim his fifth SA Men’s K1 slalom title. Ettore Ivaldi / Gameplan Media

In the showdown for the Men’s K1 title, on a course set by veteran slalom paddler Cameron McIntosh, Orpwood threw down the gauntlet with a fast time but burdened himself with three two-second penalties for gate touches.

That left the door open for Mahlaba, who scorched down the course in the days fastest time, but in the process picked up four gate-touch penalties. Wewege was able to snatch the gold medal by completing the course with one less gate-touch.

“It’s exciting to win the national title again, but more importantly I was happy with the form I showed, especially in the semi-final,” said Wewege. “That is the sort of form I am going to need when it comes to trying to qualify later in the year.”

The Dihlabeng club dominated in the C-boat classes, which unusually rivaled the K1 class in total number of entries.

Olympian Lindelani “Cyprian” Ngidi, who is also the coach at Dihlabeng, showed his class with a final run that was blemished by just one gate touch, with clubmate Nteo Mokhutu taking the silver medal and Wewege earning the C1 bronze to go with his K1 gold medal.

Run Ride Dive News

The men’s K1 podium at the Dihlabeng Mall SA Slalom Championships on the Ash River, from left Success Mahlaba (2nd), Don Wewege (1st) and Brandon Orpwood (3rd, 1st U18).
Susan Maree/Gameplan Media

Nteo Mokuthu and Jabulani Mofokeng combined to win the national C2 title for the host Dihlabeng club.

SUMMARY OF RESULTS
DIHLANBENG MALL SA SLALOM CHAMPIONSHIPS

Men’s K1
Pos Athlete Time (Penalties) Total
1 Don Wewege 88.55 (6) 94.55
2 Success Mahlaba 88.07 (8) 96.07
3 Brandon Orpwood (U18) 91.93 (6) 97.93

Mens C1
Pos Athlete Time (Penalties) Total
1 Lindelani Ngidi 124.92 (2) 126.92
2 Nteo Mokhutu 117.51 (10) 127.51
3 Don Wewege 96.80 (50) 146.80

Men’s C2
1 Nteo Mokuthu/Jabulani Mofokeng 167.15 (206) 373.15

Leave a Reply