South Africa is blessed with three world-class canoe marathons, each offering the paddler a supreme challenge along with genuine camaraderie in a field that includes not only those trying to win, but also those who come to compete with themselves and the river.The Fish River and Berg River canoe marathons are more traditional races, consisting mostly of paddling with a little portaging, but the Dusi Canoe Marathon, raced between Pietermaritzburg and Durban, offers a unique challenge, with portaging making up a significant part of the race.Dusi Canoe MarathonFish River Canoe MarathonBerg River Canoe Marathon DUSI CANOE MARATHONThe Dusi is the longest running of the three races, having been contested for the first time in 1951, when world-renowned conservationist Ian Player, the brother of golfing legend Gary, was the only finisher out of a field of eight men.It took Player six days to complete the epic journey – during which time he was bitten by a night adder. Player crawled to a nearby road and managed to get a lift to a police station, where he collapsed. Anti-serum was administered, and he continued on to Durban.The first four editions of the race were contested on a non-stop basis, but in 1956 the race was changed to its present three-stage format, bringing an end to non-stop racing, through-the-night paddling and sleeping out in the open.Toughest canoe race in the worldFor many years the Dusi remained an elite event feared by the average paddler, and it wasn’t until 1967 that the 100-entry mark was finally achieved. By 1970 it was being billed as “the toughest canoe race in the world”.In the words of Ian Player: “No man who has done the 110 gruelling miles can ever be the same again. The memory of the rapids, the steep hills and torturous paths, the aching backs and dry mouths, the burning sun and cold mist and rain, will forever remain in the mind.”The Dusi KingMany great paddlers have taken turns to dominate the Dusi over the years, but one rose above them all; known as the Dusi King and “The Pope”, Graeme Pope-Ellis recorded his first victory with Eric Clarke in 1972. He won for the last time with Tim Cornish in 1990.In those 19 races since 1972, Pope-Ellis had won 15 times and placed second on three occasions. Only a broken boat in 1979 had prevented him from achieving another top-two finish. He has completed the Dusi a record 44 times.The race regularly attracts well over 1 000 contestants nowadays, with the record standing at 2 127 in the first race of the new millennium.The Non-Stop DusiThe Non-Stop Dusi has also been introduced, reviving the tradition of the race as it was in its early days. Only the excellent, the brave – and sometimes the stupid – attempt the Non-Stop Dusi, which has taken over the mantle of “world’s toughest canoe race” from the three-day Dusi.It is interesting to note that Non-Stop Dusi competitors start and finish on the same day – a reflection on the extent to which training, equipment and support have changed since the first race in 1951.FISH RIVER CANOE MARATHONThe Hansa Fish River Canoe Marathon was first held in 1982, when 77 competitors took part. In 2000 it attracted a record entry of 1 564 paddlers, ranking it among the five biggest canoe marathons in the world.One of the main attractions of the event is that it is held in Cradock in the Eastern Cape, a central location that makes the race accessible for participants from all over the country, not to mention those who travel from overseas.Another plus for the paddlers is that the river is artificially regulated, guaranteeing them challenging and exciting rapids, fast-flowing water and testing weirs.The Fish River Canoe Marathon takes place every year during the September school holidays – which sometimes means it happens in October!Coelacanth, Fish Eagle awardsAs with many long-distance events, people competing in 10 or more editions of the Fish River Canoe Marathon are recognised. While the Comrades Marathon has the much-prized green number, the Fish has the equally sought-after Coelacanth award. The even more prestigious Fish Eagle award is presented to paddlers who have completed 20 or more events.The event has regularly been awarded the South African Canoeing Marathon Championships, another indication of its standing as a fine, well-loved event.‘Twinned’ with the Avon DescentThe Fish has also been “twinned” with Australia’s famous Avon Descent, which is billed as “the world’s greatest wild water event”.The twinning agreement sees the winners of the two events being flown to take part in the twin event, and has led to stunning success for South Africans in the Perth race:Wayne Volek won in the K1 category in 2000, followed by Martin Dreyer in 2002, and Sven and Deon Bruss in the K2 category in 2003.Daryl Bartho scored successive K1 victories in 2004 and 2005, and Sven Bruss was the K1 champion and Daryl and Brett Bartho the K2 winners in 2007. In 2008, Barry Lewin was crowned the K1 winner in a record time.BERG RIVER CANOE MARATHONThe Berg River Canoe Marathon has been contested since 1961. It is an extremely tough challenge, taking place over four days and covering an astounding 228 kilometres, making it the longest race in South Africa.Compounding the challenge posed by the distance is the fact that the event takes place in winter – the weather can be a fierce opponent, not to mention the tricky nature of the river. The water tends to be fast-flowing, but the channels are narrow, and overhanging trees give another angle to the test.Due to the extreme test that the race poses, the size of the entry doesn’t approach the size of the fields in the Dusi and Fish River Canoe Marathons.The King of the BergFormer Springbok paddler Andre Collins is known as the King of the Berg. He has completed the event an astounding 40 times, a figure that has been matched by Giel van Deventer.Five-time champion Hank McGregor, who has won every big race there is to win in South African canoe marathon racing, as well as the World Marathon K1 Championships in 2003 and the Durban Surfski World Cup (twice), has often said that the Berg River Canoe Marathon is the toughest race in the world.Team raceIn an interesting innovation, the Berg introduced a professional team race in 2008, which employed an original and exciting format.Each team consists of three or four paddlers. To ensure that the competition is competitive, no team may include more than one paddler who has achieved top three places in the previous three editions of the race.The top three times are added together for a cumulative time, but that time can be reduced by one of the team’s paddlers winning “hotspots”, which are worth two minutes off the total time.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material
Divas ConventionNew Delhi, Nov 21 (PTI) Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa will be the Chief Guest at the 14th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) Convention to be held from January 7 to 9, 2017 in Bengaluru.Announcing this, External Affairs Ministry said the Portuguese Prime Minister has accepted an invitation from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and will participate in the inaugural session of the PBD Convention on January 8 and address the delegates.While the Prime Minister will be the Chief Guest, Surinam Vice president Michael Ashwin Satyandre Adhin will be the Special Guest at the Youth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) to be held on January 7, 2017 in Bengaluru.He will address the young overseas Indian delegates at the inaugural session of the Youth PBD, along with Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj and Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports Vijay Goel, the ministry said in a release.PBD is celebrated on January 9 every year to mark the contribution of overseas Indian community in the development of India. January 9 was chosen as the day to celebrate this occasion since it was on this day in 1915 that Mahatma Gandhi, the greatest Pravasi, returned to India from South Africa, led Indias freedom struggle and changed the lives of Indians forever.The conventions, celebrated every year since 2003, provide a platform to the overseas Indian community to engage with the government and people of the land of their ancestors for mutually beneficial activities. PTI PYK ZMN
LG will launch its affordable W-series smartphones in India. The Korean electronics giant is hosting a special launch event in New Delhi, which will begin at 12PM. Thanks to a teaser on Amazon India, we know that LG is expected to launch the LG W30 today. Apart from the LG W30, the company is also expected to launch the LG W10, which has been a subject of numerous leaks in the past couple of weeks.LG, via the phone listing on Amazon India’s e-retail platform and via its own micro-site, we already know that LG’s W-series smartphones will come with a triple rear camera setup that will be accompanied by an LED flash. The teasers available on Amazon India indicate that LG’s W-series smartphones are expected to come with a wide-angle lens and offer its users five camera modes, which includes normal, front camera selfie, night mode, portrait mode and bokeh mode. On the phone, the series is expected to come with a single camera, details of which remain scarce at the moment.Amazon India also hinted that users will be able to customise the notch of the phone based on their moods. Now, LG’s UI already offers users to pick between an iPhone-like notch and a design that includes thin bezels on the top. The LG W-series smartphones, however, are expected to go a step beyond this and offer users a choice to select between a water drop notch, a dot drop notch and thin bezels on top. In addition to this, we also know that the series will be available on Amazon India in three stylish colour variants – blue, green and black.advertisementNotably, the LG W30 will be available on Amazon India in Aurora green colour variant during the Amazon Prime Day 2019, which is scheduled to take place between July 15 and July 16.As far as the LG W10 is concerned, the phone was spotted on the Android Enterprise website last week. The listing on the Android Enterprise website revealed that the LG W10 will sport a 6.2-inch display. While the website didn’t reveal details about the phone’s processor, it did reveal that W10 will come with 3GB RAM and 32GB internal memory and that it would run on Android 9.0 Pie. It will also get fingerprint sensor support.ALSO READ: | LG W10 specs leaked ahead of India launchALSO READ: | LG to launch budget smartphone with triple rear camera setup in IndiaALSO READ: | LG to launch a W-series smartphone with triple rear camera setup exclusive to Amazon in India soon
Don’t worry, Sam Ponder fans. The ESPN college football personality won’t be completely gone from your television sets this fall. But late Thursday night, Ponder announced, via Instagram, that she’ll be “hanging up” her sideline reporter flats for Thursday Night Football. Her reason? She no longer wants to take her daughter, Scout, away from her father, Christian, for five days a week. Needless to say, it’s a respectable, mature decision.As Ponder mentions, she’ll still be part of College Football Live, SportsCenter and College GameDay. This year’s college football season starts on September 3.
zoom The long-term counterparty credit rating of Danish conglomerate A.P. Moller – Maersk has been lowered to BBB from BBB+, while the outlook is negative, according to Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings.Additionally, S&P Global Ratings lowered its issue ratings on Maersk’s senior unsecured debt to BBB from BBB+ and removed all ratings on Maersk from CreditWatch with negative implications, where they were placed on July 5, 2016.“Today’s rating actions reflect our expectations that Maersk’s operating performance will remain constrained over 2016-2017 because of significant market difficulties and industry pressures,” S&P Global Ratings said.“We also take into account the risk that the ongoing strategic re-focusing of the group may lead to reduced diversification benefits over time,” the rating agency noted, adding that it is not ruled out that these factors, either combined or on a stand-alone basis, “could lead to a further downgrade to BBB-, depending on the group’s measures to counter the aforementioned risks.”The ratings agency said that Maersk’s competitive position and consolidated performance has deteriorated over 2016, while industry prospects remain uncertain, notably in the container liner industry where fundamentals continue to be very challenging, including constrained freight rates owing to structural overcapacity and sluggish expansion of global trade.Persistent high cyclical industry pressures and low oil prices “are likely to continue to weigh on Maersk’s earnings and cash flow well into 2017.”Given that all Maersk’s segments continue to face significant market difficulties, S&P Global Ratings said it anticipates that the group’s operating performance may falter in 2016-2017.Furthermore, S&P Global Ratings said that the negative outlook reflects the risk that Maersk would reap less diversification benefits if the ongoing evaluation of the ownership structure results in the disposal of a major part of or of all of its energy division.“The negative outlook predominantly reflects the risk of a one-notch downgrade because of the group’s ongoing strategic review,” the ratings agency informed.