South Africa’s Best Marathon Paddlers Lineup for World Championships in Portugal

by | Sep 28, 2022 | Paddle, Canoeing Racing News, Events & Racing

The ICF Canoeing Marathon World Championships are kicking off on Thursday the 29th of September and us usual, South Africa has a strong team of athletes lining up to compete for the world titles!

South African Marathon Canoe Paddler Andy Birkett World Championships
Portaging is a key aspect to a marathon race. Exiting the water and entering again quickly without making errors is paramount to a good race. (c) Balint Vekassy

Ponte De Lima, Portugal is the stage where the racing will be taking place. The Portuguese team will be throwing a wildcard into the mix in the form of Fernando Pimenta. A 4 X World Champion on 1000m and 5000m sprint distances, his speed could shake things up in the marathon crowd without a doubt.

Among the notable paddlers is Andy Birkett who won the World Games Canoe Marathon event earlier this year against the formidable Dane, Mads Pedersen! Andy is one of the most down-to-earth and hard working athletes you’ll ever meet. We can be sure that he will be well prepared for racing in Portugal this weekend with big expectations on him after the show he put on at the World Games.

South African Marathon Canoe Paddler Andy Birkett World Championships
Andy Birkett is one of South Africa’s premier marathon paddlers and is coming into World Champs with a very solid base. (c) Balint Vekassy

South Africa’s Hank McGregor (who has won seven K1 titles and four in K2) will be taking to the short course race as well as the K2 marathon. He’s on good form and has already taken a win this week, with his wife Pippa in the mixed K2 category!

Perhaps the hungriest for action from the South African squad is Hamish Lovemore. The young u23 paddler regularly takes the race to the legends of Marathon paddling on home water and has entered himself for the men’s K1 race as well as the u23 event. He has spent the last 2 months training and racing in Europe to sharpen himself for the coming trial. Dave Macleod caught up with him this week:

South African Marathon Canoe Paddler World Championships
Hamish Lovemore is young but he has immense talent to show on the water. (c) Balint Vekassy

“I feel like I am in really good shape and the training has all been great,” said Hamish. The final leg of Hamish’s European training campaign took him to Portugal, where he has been training on the world championship course with the current world champion José Ramalho. “Training with him and getting time on the course has really given me confidence,” said the Euro Steel racer. Hamish says that, despite making a big new network of friends through his training campaign, he knows that friendships and loyalties will have to be put aside when the Under 23 K1 and senior K2 racing gets under way this week.

“We have all become good mates but racing is racing and it will be down to business,” said Lovemore. “I will be racing Nikolai (Thomsen) In the Under 23s, as well as Ronan Foley from Ireland who trained with us in Denmark. We will do our thing on the water and will be good mates off the water.”

Saskia Hockly is a powerhouse in the junior women’s category and along with her sister could also throw up some fireworks in their K2 race on Friday.

You can find the racing schedule below with South Africans competing, race distances, the link to the livestream home, and South African results from the masters races earlier this week.


All event livestreams can be can be found here:

Thursday 29 September

09:00 K1 Junior Women 18.3km – Saskia Hockly / Holly Smith
11:00 K1 Women – Short Race Heat 1 3.6km – Jenna Nisbet
11:25 K1 Women – Short Race Heat 2 3.6km – Nicky Birkett
11:50 K1 Men – Short Race Heat 1 3.6km  – Uli Hart
12:15 K1 Men – Short Race Heat 2 3.6km  – Hank McGregor
17:15 K1 Women – Short Race Final 3.6km
17:45 K1 Men – Short Race Final 3.6km

Friday 30 September

09:00 K2 Junior Women 18.3km – Saskia Hockly & Valma Hockly / Holly Smith & Neriyah Dill
14:30 K1 Under 23 Women 22.1km – Christie Mackenzie / Jade Wilson
16:30 K1 Under 23 Men 25.9km – Uli Hart / Hamish Lovemore

Saturday 1 October

09:00 K1 Junior Men 22.1km – Joshua Simpkins / Matthew Coetzer
13:45 K1 Women 25.9km – Nicky Birkett
16:15 K1 Men 29.7km – Hamish Lovemore / Andy Birkett

Sunday 2 October

08:50 K2 Junior Men 22.1km – Luke Le Roux & Joshua Smith / Joshua Simpkins & Matthew Coetzer
11:15 K2 Women 25.9km – Jenna Nisbet & Pippa McGregor / Jade Wilson & Christie Mackenzie
14:00 K2 Men 29.7km – Hank McGregor & Jasper Mocke / Andy Birkett & Nic Notten

Results from team RSA at the Master’s Cup:

K1 Men 70-74 – Allan Hold (2nd) / Peter O’Connor (3rd)
K1 Men 75+ – Paul Chalupsky (3rd) / Claude Graham (4th)
K1 Men 35-39 – Michael-John Robb (9th)
K1 Men 55-59 – Brendon Thomson (6th) / Brad Fisher (7th)
K1 Men 60-64 – Colin Wilson (5th) / Ronald Pronk (6th)
K1 Women 35-39 – Pippa McGregor (2nd)
K1 Women 45-49 – Marion Young (5th)
K1 Men 40-44 – Wayne Jacobs (2nd) / Riccardo Talevi (5th)
K1 Men 50-54 – Gustav Radloff (1st) / Michael Stewart (4th) / Pieter Engelbrecht (5th) / Richard Lowe (9th)
K2 Men 70-74 – Allan Hold & Peter O’Connor (1st) / Murray Mackenzie & Kevin Oliver (2nd)
K2 Men 35-39 – Michael-John Robb & Alex Roberts (7th)
K2 Men 40-44 – Wayne Jacobs & Riccardo Talevi (1st)
K2 Men 50-54 – Gustav Radloff & Pieter Engelbrecht (2nd) / Michael Stewart & Richard Lowe (3rd)
K2 Men 55-59 – Brad Fisher & Brendon Thomson (3rd)
K2 Men 60-64 – Colin Wilson & Ronald Pronk (1st) / Shaun Rice & Colin Simpkins (3rd)
K2 Mix 35-49 – Hank and Pippa McGregor (1st)