Pietermaritzburg - With mere days to go to the much anticipated 2015 Dusi Canoe Marathon the iconic paddling race from Pietermaritzburg to Durban has received an international boost after Hungarian Adriàn Boros recently jetted in to South African shores ahead of three day race that starts on February 19.
Boros and fellow Hungarian Gàbor Màthé finished in a respectable sixty-ninth place on debut in last year’s K2 Dusi however the young star is eager to improve dramatically on this come this year’s singles tussle.
“Chatting to Adriàn after last year’s Dusi he said that he found the race quite challenging but overall it was really enjoyable,” explains Natal Canoe Club coach Craig Mustard who is working closely with the European star in the build up to February’s race.
“He was however very frustrated to see the leading ladies and junior crews come past them so he wanted to come back and put in a strong performance this year.
“Fortunately his Hungarian club were prepared to fly him out for this year’s race and the support of Natal Canoe Club and Pope’s Canoe Centre locally should see him give it a good go this year, ” he adds.
While the foreign competitor may not be amongst the names of those likely to challenge for overall honours, Mustard is confident Boros can achieve a strong result.
“Andy (Birkett), Sbonelo (Khwela), Bungee (Thulani Mbanjwa) and Lance (Kime) are all going really well at the moment, as are the likes of Murray Haw and company.
“We have kept our goals realistic and aren’t looking to try compete with those sorts of guys but we do believe Adriàn can achieve a top 20 finish and if things go really well then possibly even in the ten to fifteen place mix.
“He had a decent hit-out at the Hi-Q Challenge at Albert Falls Dam recently where he finished twenty-eighth and hopefully now we can keep building on that over these final couple of weeks.”
Hungary is renowned for its abundance of world class sprinters however its river marathon achievements are far less celebrated.
Aptly, Boros’ 2014 Dusi involvement came about by chance.
“Adriàn wasn’t originally involved in the Hungarian K2 for last year’s Dusi but Gàbor’s (Màthé) original partner had to pull out at the last minute and Adriàn got thrown into the deep end,” explains Mustard.
“Adriàn ended up driving the K2 down the river last year and so now that he’s spending some time on the Msundusi and Mngeni Rivers again things are coming back to him slowly.
“For now it’s all about trying to get him on the river as much as possible in order for him to be come as familiar as he can with the various lines.”
River knowledge isn’t the only obstacle the young Hungarian will have to overcome though.
“Adriàn is a really strong runner but running with a boat on his shoulder is completely foreign to him and it is something we’re having to work on hugely ahead of this year’s Dusi.
“I’m confident he’ll be able to hold his own with the rest of the guys on the water but portaging is definitely an area we’re targeting at the moment.
Despite hoping for a far more competitive result second time around, Mustard still believes 2015 is another stepping stone for Boros’ in his greater Dusi plan.
“Having first experienced the Dusi last year and now being back for his first K1 Dusi this year, the goal for Adriàn is to get him out here again next year for another K2 Dusi and then another singles race the following year (2017) before then possibly going for a top ten finish the year after that (2018.),” says Mustard.
In the meantime Boros is however thoroughly enjoying his time in South Africa and is relishing a return to this year’s edition of the world-renowned paddling enchantment that is the Dusi Canoe Marathon.
The 64th edition of the Dusi Canoe Marathon takes place from Camps Drift in Pietermaritzburg to Blue Lagoon in Durban from Thursday 19 to Saturday 21 February 2015. More information can be found at www.dusi.co.za