Le Roux starts to fulfil potential with two golds in Tunis
TEAM SA struck gold on the opening day of the African Canoe Sprint Championships in the Tunisian capital, Tunis, on Thursday when they bagged two wins and two second-place finishes.
Pietermaritzburg teenager Bryan le Roux took the junior men’s 1 000m K1 title by a comfortable seven seconds over Egyptian Karim Emad Abdelsamie.
Le Roux claimed his second gold medal in the junior men’s K2 1000m with under-16 Soweto schoolboy Siyabonga Tyiki.
They managed to power away from the rest of the field and claim the gold by 15 seconds over a pair of Tunisian paddlers.
It was a major achievement for Tyiki, who lives in the informal settlement of Motsoaledi. The Bona High School student contributed to his school claiming the Gauteng Canoe Union School League this year after registering the most points throughout the year.
This year, Tyiki and partner Johan Ubbink took first place in the under-18 section of the SA K2 Championships at the Vaal River Canoe Marathon, suggesting the Soweto youngster had a bright future in the sport.
The gold medals on the first day of competition were an added bonus for Le Roux, considering his strongest events were still to come. He could double his medals tally when he gets on the water for the 200m K1 and K2 events.
It had been a fairly quick rise for the youngster who had been competing in sprint canoeing for two years, following in his brother Warren’s footsteps.
He was in the top two in the country in his age group and, after a slightly disappointing showing at the Sprint World Championships this year, would be happy to be on form again at the African Champs.
In the senior K1 events, the South African contingent claimed medals in both their races, with under-23 Martin van den Bergh claiming silver medal in the men’s K1 1 000m behind Tunisian Mohamed Ali Mrabet. Mrabet was tipped by manager Phillip van Tonder as Van den Bergh’s stiffest competition and it was the experienced Tunisian who claimed the gold.
The other silver medal was won by Luke Stowman and Joseph Williams in the men’s K2 1 000m race. They came in three seconds behind the Tunisian combination and just ahead of the Algerian pair. – Sapa African Sprint Championships, day 1 results: K1 Junior Men 1 000m 1 Bryan le Roux 03:46.249 (SA), 2 Karim Emad Abdelsamie 03:53.656 (Egy), 3 Yassine Belhaj Mohamed 03:58.830 (Tun) K2 Men 1 000m 1 M Ali Mrabet/Jasser Shell 03:23.039 (Tun), 2 Luke Stowman/Joseph Williams 03:26.304 (SA), 3 N Baghdadi/Anis Nouioua 03:27.815 (Alg) K1 Men 1000m 1 Mohamed Ali Mrabet 03:36.187 (Tin), 2 Martin van den Bergh 03:39.135 (SA), 3 Awiwa Yannis 03:54.366 (Alg) K2 Junior Men 1000m 1 Bryan le Roux/Siyabonga Tyiki 03:24.784 ( SA), 2 Iheb Bouaabdallah/ Yassine Belhaj Mohamed 03:39.163 (Tun), 3 Z Mohamed/Ali Hassan Ali 03:42.565 (Egy)