Durban - The paddling community is celebrating the Steve Tshwete
Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Lee McGregor at the recent SA Sports
Awards in Bloemfontein.
READ: Caster steals show at SA Sports Awards
67-yea-old McGregor drives the MacSquad training programme based at Blue
Lagoon, capping a sporting career that has included represented South Africa
over fifty times in swimming, surf lifesaving and canoeing, where he has broken
numerous world records and won world titles at Masters swimming and canoeing.
Much of his athletic prime was spent during the years of sporting isolation and
he was never given the chance to fully test himself against the world's best,
but he has channelled his passion for sport into inspiring and coaching the
next generation of athletes, while remaining a highly competitive athlete in
his own right.
The athletes he has nurtured included his son Hank McGregor, who has set a
world record by winning eleven world marathon championship titles, in addition
to victories at almost every major surfski and river marathon race on the
Lee McGregor's MacSquad includes many paddlers that have gone on to achieve
international success, from Jenna Ward (two times bronze medallist K1 U23 world
marathons), Ward and Kyeta Purchase winning a women’s K2 silver medal in 2016,
Purchase's bronze medal in the U18 K1 marathon champs, Hamish MacKenzie and
David Evans' silver medal in the U18 Boys K2 marathon, Christie MacKenzie
winning a bronze medal in the K1 U18 girls marathon and numerous Masters
medallists at Masters World Championships.
McGregor is also currently involved in coaching High Performance Development in
KwaZulu-Natal, and has set his sights on guiding these youngsters to achieve on
the a world stage and believe that they can be a world champions.
A humbled McGregor said he appreciated the honour, and said the attention
should be focussed on the ability sport has to galvanise a nation.
"After all these years of waiting for some sort of recognition for the
years of training and swimming hoping to get a chance to compete, which never
ever happened, it is great to know that your country has remembered you,"
"Who cares about those lost years? We are all in the same boat now and the
only thing that is going to bring South Africa together is sport and music, so
that is why we are doing what we do.
"To be recognised after all these years is a tremendous honour. I am very
very proud," he concluded.