3 September 2013
South African sprint canoe queen Bridgitte Hartley continued her fight back to full fitness with an eighth place in the final of the women’s K1 500 metres at the ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships in Duisberg, Germany on Saturday.
She posted a time of 2:02.626 seconds in the final, which was won by Hungary’s Danuta Kozak in a time of 1:57.395, with Germany’s Katrin Wagner-Augustin placing second in 1:58.300.
Hartley, who won a bronze medal in the event at the London Olympics in 2012, was earlier this year felled by a bout of chicken pox, which set back her training and racing schedule, so her placing outside of the medals did not disappoint team manager Craig Mustard.
‘A bit surprised’
He told the Road To Rio website: “I was actually a bit surprised by Bridge making it into the A-Final in the 500 because there are some 200 metres paddlers now filtering into the 500m distance and doing so well.
“Her up-and-down year with being sick and not being able to train as hard as often as she did in the past was also a worry for me.”
The bubbly Hartley remained as optimistic as always afterwards, saying: “Thank you for all the positive energy and wishes for my race today. It was a tough race with good athletes! I had to settle for 8th overall.”
Earlier Hartley had placed fifth in the K1 200m semi-finals, clocking 42.850 seconds. The winner, Slovenia’s Spela Ponomarenko-Janic stopped the clock in 40.229 in the third of three semis.
That result put Hartley into the B Final on Sunday where she posted a slightly faster time, clocking 42.737 to finish in eighth place.
Marharyta Tsushkevich took the win 41.145, with Sarah Guyot of France and Rachel Cawthorn of Britain following her across the line.
Hartley’s weekend had begun on Friday, when, as part of the newly formed South African women’s K4 combination, she, Tiffany Kruger, Esti van Tonder and Kerry Shuter posted a time of 1:39.191 in their heat.
The K4 combination went on to finish sixth in the semi-finals in a time of 1:43.054, which meant another B-Final on Sunday. The South African quartet then placed fourth in that B-Final, which was won by Great Britain ahead of the Czech Republic and Spain.
Para-canoeist Stu Hogg was also in action, finishing eighth in his heat of the K1 men’s 200 metres (LTA), with victory going to Tom Kierey of Germany.
Hogg broke new ground for South Africa by becoming the first South African para-canoeist to take part in a World Sprint Championships.
“Missed making it to semi-finals by one position,” he told Road to Rio after his race. “Trying to take only the positives from this year and build toward next year.
“It was a really hard heat and a difficult class for me. Big thanks go to Craig Mustard and James Godden (management) for getting me this far, plus all the support from everyone. I’m keen to really work hard for next year and improve on my weaknesses.”