Canoeist makes South Africa proud

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WESTVILLE canoeist Hamish Lovemore returned triumphant from the ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships in Ponte de Lima, Portugal.

Lovemore, the U23 marathon world champion, says he was always “crazy about surfing” and had to find a new sport once he started internship at Hilton. The athlete says he trained in the school dam and then traveled daily to Camps Drift in Pietermaritzburg, which is the starting point for the Dusi Canoe Marathon.

“My brother, Tom, competed at the Junior World Championships in 2015. I started taking it more seriously in grade 10 and started training for the flatwater marathon, which became my discipline. favourite. »

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The trip

Since leaving school, the sportsman has dedicated his life to his sport, training full time for the past two years and “trying hard to paddle”. He has three daily workouts, including a morning and afternoon paddle session and a midday running or gym session. Friday is a day off with endurance training undertaken over the weekend.

Lovemore says he is part of the Euro Steel team and the Mac Squad (the McGregor Squad). Hank McGregor, who has been world champion 13 times, is both training partner and mentor. Hank’s father, Lee, is Lovemore’s trainer.

“Lee has been a huge influence in my career and part of my journey. This year he moved to America, but we still talk daily, and it works well for me. In addition to giving me training plans, Lee understands me mentally, talks to me before races and keeps me calm. He’s an asset no one else has,” says Lovemore.

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The training regimen

The canoeist spent some time in Europe before the world championships, taking part in other races and training.

“I raced in Spain the first weekend of August, I spent three weeks training in Denmark, I was in Hungary for the world sprint championships for a week where I got a bronze medal in the 5000m, then I was in Portugal for a month, where I switched from sprint training to marathon training.

Lovemore’s family traveled to Portugal to support him in the World Championship event.

“Winning your first world title and having your mum, dad and sisters there is even more special. My boredom wasn’t there unfortunately which was sad because we shared the dream together. Without the incredible support of my family, I couldn’t achieve my dreams. My team and Hank were there. I was really happy,” says Lovemore.

Hamish and his father, Bruce Lovemore, after winning the Portuguese Championship. Photo: supplied.

The fast and exciting event is often described as the Formula 1 of canoeing. The U23 race consists of seven 3.9km laps, each of which includes a 100m sprint out of the water while carrying the canoe. Lovemore says getting in and out of the high-speed boat takes skill.

“It’s easy to make a mistake getting in and out of your canoe, and when the stakes and the pace are so high and the pressure so high, it could cost you your race,” he says.

The champion says the South Africans are training in tough conditions.

“We’re not making excuses, and internationally we’ve got a little more heart and a little more desire to show what we can do,” Lovemore said.

What do you do next after winning the world championship?

“I’m only the U23 world champion, so it’s a huge step in the right direction, but I’m not the senior world champion, which is my end goal. I’ll quit once I have won the senior title. I’m definitely not done yet and came back more motivated than ever,” Lovemore said.

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