Adventure Sport

Injury worry for Dusi contender

2011-12-01 15:00
Thulani Mbanjwa (Kyle Gilham/Gameplan Media)
Durban - An injury cloud hangs over a number of title contenders for the Unlimited Dusi canoe marathon including valley icon Thulani Mbanjwa who, despite suffering a calf injury recently, has elected to race this weekend’s Land Rover Hansa 50 Miler, hoping desperately that he won’t aggravate the injury any further.

Mbanjwa, who hit global headlines when he became the first black winner of the race as Michael Mbanjwa but who now prefers to be known by his family name, severely strained his calf whilst competing with partner Sibonelo Zondi at the world marathon champs in October this year and has subsequently had to undergo an extensive rehabilitation programme in recent weeks.

“I tried to run through a ‘dead leg’ on the third portage of the champs and injured myself pretty badly,” said Mbanjwa. “I could hardly walk when we got off the plane from Singapore and I had to stay off my feet entirely for a few days after that.”

“Sibonelo and I then did he Unlimited Ozzie Gladwin together and looking back it probably was a little bit too much too soon because I was really sore for a while afterwards,” he added.

All is certainly not lost for the pair as rigorous physiotherapy sessions and a light training schedule has seen Mbanjwa recover well enough to realistically enter the two day race on the Dusi course this weekend.

“I’m going to the physio every three or four days at the moment and thankfully things are getting much better now,” said Mbanjwa.

“We’ve been training again this week and I’m feeling very comfortable on the flats and downhill, it’s just the going uphill that I’m still struggling with a bit at the moment,” he added.

This weekend’s race from Camps Drift to Inanda dam will have many challenging climbs which will provide a tough test for Mbanjwa and his fitness but the former Dusi winner is looking forward to seeing just how well his body holds up.

“I’m a little nervous about the uphills this weekend but it will be a great opportunity for me to see how things are going and how far my calf has come along,” said Mbanjwa.

“There is still quite a while to go before Dusi so I’m confident my injury would have recovered by then and I’ll be ready,” he added.

The Unlimited Dusi takes place from Camps Drift in Pietermaritzburg to Blue Lagoon in Durban on 16-18 February 2012. More info can be found at

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