Pietermaritzburg - In what was one of the
inspirational stories of the 2016 Dusi Canoe Marathon, Banetse Nkhoesa
recovered from a stabbing incident to finish on the podium in his K2.
2017, he hopes to replicate that form and push for a top five when the Dusi
gets underway from February 16-18.
Nkhoesa was the victim of a horrific stabbing incident in his house in
Shongweni in December 2015 which set him back hugely in his preparation
with his partner Sbonelo Khwela for the K2 Dusi in 2016.
The pair's incredible determination and help from the Prime-based Elite Athlete
Development Programme got Nkhoesa back into a boat and onto the Dusi podium
where they finished in third place overall - a remarkable feat after such a
"Last year's preparation was incredibly tough," Nkhoesa recalls.
"My race was seriously jeopardised after the incident but I gave myself a
chance and it paid off. This year I have been so much more prepared and I am
really looking forward to racing the Dusi!"
The three-day race adventure takes its toll on most paddlers with a plethora of
factors to take into consideration when tackling the ultimate canoe challenge,
Nkhoesa's belief is that he has grown from his ordeal and is ready for anything.
"Last year's performance has really given me so much more confidence going into
this year's race.
"I was amazed that myself and Sbonelo could pull off the result that we did in
the end with such a difficult build up - that motivates me to strive to do just
as well if not better in my K1," he added.
The 24-year-old and training partner Sbonelo Khwela have been working hard and
have been in solid form in the build up to the start of the 2017 Dusi with
Nkhoesa trying to soak up as much knowledge from the Dusi veteran as possible.
"I have learnt so much from Sbonelo since we have been training together and he
has helped me understand the race and how to race much better.
"I have got to the stage now in my preparation where I am trying to polish
aspects of my paddling and not learn too many new things," he stressed.
With one of the deepest men's fields assembled for this year's edition of the
race, Nkhoesa appreciates the experience passed on to him by the other top
paddler and hopes to make up for it in dedication and preparation.
"The field for this year's Dusi is really exciting with so much talent I know
that it is going to be an incredibly tough race so if I get any sort of chance
during the race I have to take it otherwise I will be under pressure.
"The other guys have all done over ten Dusi's so they know how to put you under
pressure so I need to hang on and keep working hard if I get the chance.
"If I can finish in the top five I will be really happy but anything higher is
a bonus for me!" a hopeful Nkhoesa continued.
With rains over the KwaZulu-Natal region not providing enough relief from the
on-going drought, Nkhoesa has prepared himself for the varying conditions that
the race will throw at him.
"If there is more running then I think that that will work for me a bit more.
"The running on day one is always quite close and I think if we have to run
more than usual on day three then it will be level because everyone is tired by
the third day!" he mentioned.