Adventure Sport

Berg icon Jean Wilson back

2011-07-07 19:35
Jean Wilson (File)
Cape Town - When the new record field of canoeists lines up for the start of the Windhoek Berg River Canoe Marathon in Paarl on Wednesday 13 July, the seeded women's batch will include iconic Cape paddler Jean Wilson who has come out of retirement to be part of the famous race's 50th anniversary celebrations.

Wilson, who turns 42 just days before the start, dominated the race in the nineties, with seven wins between 1992 and 2000, sharing the title of the most successful female Berg paddler along with Marinda Hartzenberg, who won seven times in the eighties.

"We were actually out paddling for fun on Sandvlei on the final day of the Berg last year, and we were thinking about the guys finishing the race and the talk turned to the 50th anniversary race," said Wilson. "That's when the seed was sown."

"I really haven't done the training, and I am during it purely for old time sake," she added.

However she shook the canoeing fraternity with her form in the recent Swartland marathon where she outsprinted Hillary Pitchford to claim to last spot on the podium.

Wilson won respect wherever she raced as the petite blonde was a powerful marathoner and a shrewd tactician who won numerous national titles and represented her country abroad.

She battled on the portages due to having polio as a child, and was allowed to receive assistance in some paddling events to help her on the tough sections where paddlers have to carry their craft.

The early stages of the Berg are characterised by numerous tree blocks which make life difficult for Wilson.

"The toughest times on the Berg for me were the unexpected portages, especially those on the third or fourth day where short cuts ran dry and ended in muddy slippery portages," recalled Wilson.

"The challenge was to stay focused and positive knowing that I was going to lose time before I could get back in the water. When you're feeling almost blown already it is tough! I think the hardest was when Dene Simpson caught me in this situation just before Zoutkloof."

"I am just aiming to get to the end and hopefully enjoy the occasion," Wilson added. "It will be my twelfth Berg, which is something that I don't think many other women have done."

"It's going to be a great family experience, as we will be staying in a camper van at the overnight stops to enjoy the whole experience of the 50th anniversary."

The Berg River Canoe Marathon takes place from 13 to 16 July 2011, preceded by a time trial on 12 July.
 

Read more on:    berg river canoe marathon  |  paarl
NEXT ON SPORT24X

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
  • Blitz
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
  • SS1
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
  • SS2
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
  • SS3
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

 

Quiz: Test your Rio Olympics memory!

Think you know what went on at the Rio Olympics? Prove it by tackling Sport24's ridiculously impossible yet highly addictive post-Games quiz!

 
 

Rio Olympics

GALLERY: SA's Rio Olympic medallists
As it happened: Rio Olympics - Day 17
Selecting 6 numbers turned Britain into Olympic superpower
Caster cranks up the heat in Rio semi
Vote

Which of the following floats your Extreme Sports boat?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

Featured

Follow all the action from the 2016 Rio Olympics. The highs, the lows, the tears, the smiles as the world's greatest athletes compete for gold, silver and bronze.

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.