Adventure Sport

Czech's ready for Fish race

2011-09-15 16:11
Tomáš Slovak (back) and Robert Knebel (Photo provided)
Cradock - Czech Republic champion canoeists Tomáš Slovák and Robert Knebel have confirmed their entry for the 30th edition of the Hansa Fish river canoe marathon, eager to improve on their impressive fourth place in the race last year.

The duo has a track record of world class performances in marathon and wild water races, and they have been dominant in European rough water paddling over the past decade.

Slovák is a five times wild water world champion in the team race and has also won four consecutive medals from individual racing at the wild water world championships.

Earlier in the year Knebel claimed a silver team medal in the European Wild Water championships and more recently took home third place in the Czech Wild Water champions. He considers his fourth position in last year's Fish as one of his top achievements.

Both are based in the small town of Olomouc, 330km east of Prague in the Czech republic where they spend their time training and coaching in one of Europe's biggest wild water clubs.

"We will do our best in training to be fit for the Fish and we will come to Cradock one week before the race to practise on the river," said Knebel.

Both indicated that the sprint across Grassridge dam at the start of day one as the area of focus as they set to improve on their previous results. "For us the most problem is at the start, so we will try to do best in the dam and running on the portages is also difficult. We always enjoy wild water in areas like Saltpansdrift and Keith's," added Knebel.

The two Czech stars were locked in a gruelling tussle for the last spot on the podium during last year's race with German sprint world champ Max Hoff and his partner Stefan Stiefenhoefer, which went down to the wire, the pair want to ensure that they are tactically and physically strong for the critical fifteen minutes of paddling from Cradock weir to the finish in Cradock.

"Once you have made it over Cradock weir, then to the finish no-one really knows how it will end," said Slovák.

"The best African steaks! In fact, a unique race that is unprecedented." said Slovák when asked what he is looking forward to on his return to the event. "A great race, atmosphere, water, nature, and especially nice and friendly people." he added.

Slovák and Knebel were the first top international team to confirm their entry for this year's race. There are hopes that the classy French duo of Loic Vinisale and Quentin Bonnetain will be able to make it, while German Olympic title hopeful Max Hoff has reluctantly opted out of the race due to his commitments to his national Olympic committee.

A number of other top German paddlers have indicated their interest in racing this year's Hansa Fish.

The 30th edition of the Hansa Fish river canoe marathon takes place in Cradock on 7 and 8 October. More information can be found at

Read more on:    fish river canoe marathon

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