SA women show their ta­lent at Lifesaving’s Bus­san Cup

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - RACING - MARK KEO­HANE

BEACH speed spe­cial­ists Mandi Maritz and Bradley Oden­daal were among the South African stand­outs on yes­ter­day’s open­ing of Lifesaving’s 2017 In­ter­na­tional Sanyo Bus­san Cup in Ja­pan.

South Africa’s high­light of the day and soli­tary first place be­longed to the Fe­male Res­cue Tube Team of Carmel Bill­son (pic­tured), Sasha-Lee Nor­den­gen Cor­ris, Jodi Cle­worth and Maritz.

Seven coun­tries are com­pet­ing in the 10th An­niver­sary of the Sanyo Cup, with de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Australia favoured to add to their 2016 suc­cess.

New Zealand are the cur­rent world cham­pi­ons, but Australia has made the Sanyo Bus­san Cup a sec­ond home and it would take some­thing spe­cial from New Zealand to over­take Australia today.

Hosts Ja­pan were the sur­prise pack­age on the open­ing day in fin­ish­ing sec­ond over­all, with New Zealand and South Africa mak­ing up the top four.

South Africa placed third in 2016 and coach Jay Cee Thom­son re­mained con­fi­dent that his youth­ful squad could still im­prove enough in today’s events to repli­cate last year’s over­all fin­ish.

Thom­son ap­plauded the ef­forts of the South African women’s con­tin­gent.

“It was tough go­ing for our men but our women kept us in the top or­der of the stand­ings with some very good per­for­mances. We all know what Mandi (Maritz) is ca­pa­ble of on the sand but it took a very strong team ef­fort to win the Fe­male Res­cue Tube Race,” said Thom­son.

“Our ladies put in some good per­for­mances in plac­ing in the top three in many of the races and I know our men can im­prove.

“Our squad is a mix­ture of youth and ex­pe­ri­ence and the young­sters would have learned from the open­ing day ex­pe­ri­ence.

“I know we can be stronger on the fi­nal day.”

Oden­daal’s sec­ond place fin­ish also bodes well for the fu­ture of the South African Beach Sprint­ing.

Leg­endary South African and former World Cham­pion Beach Sprinter Ryle de Morny was un­avail­able and Kwazulu-Na­tal’s Jonathan Rorke, who stun­ningly up­set De Morny in the Gen­eral Tire-Life­sav­ingSA Na­tional In­ter­club Cham­pi­onships was also not in Ja­pan.

Oden­daal has been the dominant Beach sprinter among the ju­niors in South Africa.

Maritz, who com­peted at the Sanyo Cup 10 years ago as ju­nior, re­turned to the event for the first time in a decade to com­plete an open­ing day in which she placed first, sec­ond and third in her re­spec­tive races.

Kwazulu-Na­tal’s Carmel Bill­son was im­pos­ing at the re­cent Gen­eral Tire-Life­sav­ingSA Na­tional In­ter­club Cham­pi­onships and was crowned over­all fe­male na­tional cham­pion.

Bill­son tasted vic­tory as part of the Fe­male Res­cue Tube Team, but had to be con­tent with fifth place in the Fe­male Surf Swim, with team­mate Nor­den­gen-Cor­ris fin­ish­ing sec­ond.

This year’s event is be­ing held at the Mo­mochi Beach, which is a man-made beach near the cen­tre of Fukuoka City.

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