Brandenburg - Hank McGregor bagged a seventh world title when he mastered a
powerful field and tough weather conditions to win the men's K1 crown at the
ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships, with compatriot Andy Birkett grabbing
his first senior medal to complete a historic South African 1-2.
Racing in rainy, windy conditions that left the vast expanse of the Brandenburg
an den Havel lake choppy and difficult to manage, McGregor raced a tactically
superb race to stay in command of a threatening nine boat front bunch, with
Portugal's Jose Ramalho and Hungary's Adrian Boros always well positioned.
It was McGregor's sixth K1 title, defending the K1 crown the Euro Steel
athlete won in Gyor last year, to go with the K2 crown that he won with Jasper
Mocké in Oklahoma in 2014.
"Racing against some of the best paddlers, if not the best paddlers, and I
managed to pull it off when it really counted," said McGregor.
"I thoroughly enjoyed myself. It was a totally different type of racing,
with sometimes 15 guys on the front bunch. But that's the World
Championships, against the best of the best.
"To have my countryman working together with me was great. I am really
happy," he said after the race.
The silver medal is a massive result for Birkett, who won the Under-23 K1 world
title in Copenhagen.
"I am super stoked to have been in such a tough race," he said.
"I looked at the bunch around at before the last portage with about seven
or eight boats and thought that if I can somehow get a medal I would be so
"To come second I feel like I have just won the race.
"After the huge disappointment of last year where things didn't seem to
work out the way I wanted it to, I went back and worked harder and I am super
stoked that things went my way today," said Birkett.
Earlier in the 2014 Junior K2 world champ Jean van der Westhuyzen had to settle
for fifth place in the Boys K1 race, in a race that was totally dominated by
the Hungarian duo. Capetonian Mark Keeling finished eighth, just less than two
minutes further back.
A disappointed Van der Westhuysen said that he had battled in the windy and
choppy water, shipping water into his K1.
"Look the conditions were the same for everyone, that's just the
way it goes," said Van der Westhuysen after the race. "It was a good
"I was trying to pump as much water out of my boat as I could, but that's
the way I have trained and I was used to that."
Van der Westhuysen put in a brave charge to try and get back onto the front
bunch in the closing stages of the race.
"We tried really hard to get back onto the front, but they guys were
pushing too hard for us and we weren't strong enough," the Michaelhouse
The junior girls crew of Sabrina Lawrie and Christie McKenzie also found
themselves rubbed off the hot-paced front bunch also dictated by Hungarian
"At the start we were closest to the grandstand, which wasn't the most
desirable line to get down to the bottom turn buoy.
"We settled into our race and started to work our way back as best we
could," said Lawrie.
"We made a really good team today and really enjoyed our first experience
at World Champs level," she added.
The competition concludes on Sunday with the K2 races for senior men and women,
and the junior boys.
For more information visit www.canoesa.org.za
SUMMARY OF RESULTS - ICF CANOE MARATHON WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Junior Boys K1
1. Ádám Varga (HUN) 1:43:15.8
2. Csaba Erdössy (HUN) 1:43:20.6
3. Augustin Rodriguez (ARG) 1:44:06.8
5. Jean van der Westhuyzen (RSA) 1:44:56.2
8. Mark Keeling (RSA) 1:1:46:30.6
Junior Girls K2
1. Zsófia Korsos/Viktória Fruzsina Nagy (HUN) 1:29:59.30
2. Lilla Banki/Csenge Virág Rekop (HUN) 1:30:34.8
3. Eliska Betlachova/Ludmila Koterova (CZE) 1:32:26.5
7. Sabina Lawrie/Christie McKenzie (RSA) 01:34:54.8
Senior Women K1
1. Renata Csay (HUN) 2:06:56.7
2. Vanda Kiszli (HUN) 2:07:00.3
3. Christina Beke (SRB) 2:08:17.8
10. Nikki Russell (RSA) 2:13:53.5
12. Bianca Beavitt (RSA) 2:15:09.5
Senior Men K1
1. Hank McGregor (RSA) 2:20:11.6
2. Andy Birkett (RSA)2:20:12.7
3. Jose Ramalho (POR) 2:20:13.3
Sunday, September 18
09:00 - Junior Boys K2
11:30 - Senior Women K2
14:30 - Senior Men K2