Five of the hottest tal­ents up against the world’s best

Daily Dispatch - - Sport - By ROSS ROCHE

RIS­ING pad­dling tal­ents Joshua Fenn and Zara Wood will be gun­ning for ma­jor hon­ours when they rep­re­sent the coun­try at the 2017 ICF Ca­noe Ocean Rac­ing World Cham­pi­onships in Hong Kong this week­end.

It is the an­nual Hong Kong Dragon Run race that will this year be dou­bling up as the world champs and will see some of the best pad­dling tal­ent from around the world in ac­tion.

Other lo­cal pad­dlers who will be in the mix at the world champs in­clude EL's Dur­ban-based women’s star Nikki Rus­sell, as well as top lo­cal tal­ents Be­van Man­son and An­dre Wood.

“Joshua is right up there with the best in the world, I think he has mas­sive po­ten­tial and is in with a good shout of get­ting a medal,” said Bor­der Ca­noe Club chair­man Brian Coates. “Zara is also a very tal­ented pad­dler, she is right up there in her age group, she has been work­ing and train­ing hard and I feel she has the po­ten­tial to come back with a medal.

“To have any rep­re­sen­ta­tive at that level is a big thing, so to have five of our pad­dlers com­pet­ing on the world stage for SA is a mas­sive boost for the Bor­der Ca­noe Club and for the pad­dlers them­selves.”

Con­di­tions at this time of the year in Hong Kong are ex­pected to be per­fect for pad­dling and should lead to some ex­cel­lent down­wind con­di­tions.

At the champs Sel­borne Col­lege ma­tric­u­lant Fenn, who has com­peted on the world se­ries be­fore, will be look­ing to build on the solid form he has shown over the past year, in­clud­ing a su­perb ef­fort a week and a half ago where he beat some of SA's best surfski tal­ent on his way to a third place fin­ish in the an­nual Pete Mar­lin race. “I am very ex­cited, but quite ner­vous as well, the com­pe­ti­tion is go­ing to be very tough but I am also look­ing for­ward to it,” he said “This is my first time com­pet­ing at the world champs and I know I will be up against two very good Aus­tralian pad­dlers and one from France so I will have to be at my best on the day.

“The Pete Mar­lin was a very good buildup for the world champs, it was also great for my con­fi­dence be­cause I did very well and hope­fully I can take that form into this week­end.”

For Claren­don High Grade 9 stu­dent Zara Wood this will be her first ap­pear­ance at a world cham­pi­onship event and she will be ea­ger to im­press on the world stage.

Rus­sell on her day could be one of the lead­ing con­tenders in the se­nior di­vi­sion and can def­i­nitely mix it up with the best in the world.

The ac­tion get un­der way on Satur­day morn­ing and ends on Sun­day.

Pic­ture: KER­RYN FENN

ON CREST OF A WAVE: Joshua Fenn in ac­tion on his way to a third placed fin­ish at the Pete Mar­lin race over a week ago. Fenn will be look­ing to take that form into the world champs in Hong Kong this week­end

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