2020 FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon Press Release

 No: dusi2002

23 Oct 2019

Embargo: None

 Written by: Nick Tatham


Khwela in for Umpetha Challenge

Pietermaritzburg – The Dusi canoeing season gets under way in earnest this weekend with the annual Umpetha Challenge over the opening stages of the Dusi marathon course, and the race’s most decorated paddler Sbonelo Khwela will be back, despite the fact that has hasn’t secured a K2 partner for the race yet.

Khwela’s record at the Umpetha Challenge is unrivalled and he has dominated it since its inception with six consecutive titles to his name.

Incredibly the Euro Steel/Red Bull star is still in the market for a partner for Sunday’s race as his 2020 Dusi Canoe Marathon partner Thulani Mbhanjwa is part of the race organising committee.

“I am definitely going to be racing this weekend,” Khwela mentioned. “It’s always exciting when you get to race on the Dusi for the first time in the season and I love how unique the Umpetha Challenge is.

“To finish a race on a portage means that you can kill yourself on the run because you know that you don’t have to paddle on the other side!”

From the get-go it’s clear that Khwela and Mbanjwa are going to go into the 2020 Dusi as serious contenders and Khwela believes that the pair has improved hugely since they last raced the Dusi together in 2012.

“Banji (Mbanjwa) has got the pedigree and the experience and we have both learnt so much since 2012 that we will be much better at next year’s Dusi than we were.

“I approach Banji to paddle with me and he took a bit of time but he said yes and we have been hard at work since August.”

The pair had a solid race at this year’s Hansa Fish where they finished ninth overall and Khwela believes that they could have performed much better.

“We wanted to finish in the top five and overnight we were in eighth overnight which gave us confidence going into the final day.

“Unfortunately we made a few mistakes on the second day which cost us some time but we were still happy with the result in a race that is a paddling race!”

With the date for the Dusi being pushed out by a week, Khwela isn’t concerned by the change and is looking forward to a little more down time over December.

“They could make the Dusi in April and I wouldn’t be worried,” Khwela quipped.

“It means that we won’t need to work as hard as usual over December so I will be able to have more time with my family which I am looking forward to.

“It does change our training a bit though with January being the big month where we will do a lot of hard running training whereas now we are trying to put in long, easy sessions on the water,” he explained.

The Umpetha Challenge takes paddlers from the start at Camps Drift along the Dusi Canoe Marathon route to the finish at the Bishopstowe Farmers Hall.

The race will enjoy a water release and a format designed to keep paddlers away from the water from the Baynespruit that suffered the serious ecological disaster with the August 13th oil and caustic soda spill.

Environmental experts at GroundTruth and DUCT says the water quality has recovered significantly, and only the perennial ecoli level problem remains as a the cause for paddlers concerns.

Entry details and more information can be found at www.dusi.co.za

END

Photo Caption Photographer Click to download the hi-res pic
Dusi Canoe Marathon logo (Landscape) - JPEG

 

Dusi Canoe Marathon logo (Portrait) - JPEG

 

Six-time defending Umpetha Challenge winner Sbonelo Khwela (pictured) is in search of a partner for the 2019 edition of the race this Sunday, the first race on the Msundusi River for the 2020 Dusi season.

Anthony Grote/
Gameplan Media

Conditions of usage of photographs: All photographs supplied and hyperlinked herewith may be used free of charge, with full credit to the photographer and agency as provided. The photographs may not be modified or retouched in any way, but may be cropped to suit the layout requirements of the publications. The photographs provided may be used exclusively for editorial purposes, and may be reprinted in any newspaper, magazine, television programme or on any website. These photographs may not be used for any commercial or promotional purpose, including but not limited to posters, advertisements, commercials, promotional email correspondence, point-of-sale material or any retail promotion. Should such usage be desired, please contact us at the details below.
Is this of no value to you?
This media release is intended for use by media professionals covering this specific activity or sport. Should this release not be relevant you, please advise us immediately and we will be glad to remove your name from this particular database. It would be useful to us if you could advise us which subjects you would like to continue receiving releases on.
For any further information, or if you cannot access the images, please contact:
Gameplan Media
(031) 764 3017