Slipstream to victory

DURBAN’S Andy Birkett and Hank McGregor paddled to the Men’s K2 world title in the final event of the ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships in Prado Vila Verde, Portugal, handing Birkett the elusive double and secure an eleventh world title for McGregor.

South Africa was named as the overall winner in team kayak rankings.

The duo of McGregor and Birkett were always in control of the fast-paced eight lap, 30km race on the Cavada River and led the seven boat front grouping into the last portage before throttling away on the final 1000 metre lap to claim the gold medal.

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They managed to stay clear of the jostling that characterised the race allowing them to conserve their energy for when it counted.

Birkett, who won the K1 gold medal the day before, admitted that he was worried about his stamina when fatigue hit him early on in the race. Reflecting, “on lap two I said to Hank I need to jump off and have a sleep, I was pretty broken. But that is where team work really makes a difference and Hank just took up the slack. It is really reassuring having someone like Hank in the back.”


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