Buoyed by stellar performances at two international regattas last month, top male paddler Chrisjan Coetzee hopes to feature in finals at the ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships in Portugal in August.
Coetzee raced in World Cup A-finals in the 500-metre K1 event in Szeged, Hungary and Duisburg, Germany, finishing in eighth and seventh place respectively.
“I was going into the World Cups with my focus on the 200-metre sprint because that was what I was training for,” Coetzee said.
“But I decided that I would do the 500m as well because I was there and it was going to be good for me to paddle as much as I could.
“My 500m heat in Szeged went really well and I finished second and then I followed that up by winning my semifinal.”
Coetzee said he went out too hard in his first final and ran out of steam halfway through the race to finish in last place.
“In the final in Germany I changed my tactics and didn’t go as hard at the start as I had done the week before,” he said.
“It worked out for me as I finished in seventh place, so I am getting better and have to make sure that I am consistently getting into A finals.
“I can go a lot faster if you look at my heat and semifinal times, but I am still quite a way off the pace of the top guys.
“There is a lot of work for me to do between now and the World Championships but I am hoping for an A final in Portugal next month.”
Coetzee will form a quartet with Mike Arthur, Nick Weeks and David Rodrigues in the K4 boat which Canoeing SA are targeting for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
“We will have a short K4 camp before we head to world champs, but this is mainly just an experiment because we would like to qualify a K4 for the Olympic Games,” Coetzee said.
Top female kayaker Esti van Tonder won a sprint off against Donna Hutton over the weekend for a spot on the national team for the world championships in the 200m and 500m K1 sprint.