North Durban residents paddle to bronze at world champs

TEAM South Africa finished this year’s ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships on a high as Mount Edgecombe resident, Jenna Nisbet, and Mount Moreland resident, Saskia Hockly, ended third in the senior women’s K2 race.

Nisbet and Hockly produced a strong performance as they kept themselves in the hunt for a gold medal all the way to the final sprint to the line. However, the Hungarian pair and the Spanish pair were too strong for them.

In her first world championship, Danville Park Girls’ High School learner, Hockly added to her medal tally after winning bronze in the junior women K1 race earlier in the competition.

“It’s been really good being able to share my knowledge with Saskia over the last two years and she is just so strong,” Nisbet said. “To have a partner that is young and fit and healthy is great. I loved racing with Saskia today. She was cool, calm and strong at the back of the boat and did everything that she needed to do. There were some really tough boats out there today and we started on the left so we knew that we needed a good start.

“The first two laps were proper and we just had to do our best to stay on the wave and stay calm because we knew the pace was going to drop down which it did. Luckily we were in the group of three already by then. It’s so awesome to be racing internationally again and even better to come away with a medal.” Nisbet, a Virginia Preparatory School teacher said.

For Hockly, being able to learn from someone with Nisbet’s experience was invaluable and winning two medals was beyond her comprehension going into the championships.

“I never ever thought that I would have this opportunity ever so to be here with my power partner and to pull off the result is incredible and I’m very happy,” Hockly said.

Saskia’s sister, Valma Jean also performed admirably in her first international competition. Valma Jean and K2 partner, Tannah Smith finished 4th in the junior women K2 race, just a minute behind the top three.