Mpilo Zondi will team up with former K2 champion Khumbulani Nzimande for the MyLife Dusi Canoe 2022 marathon.
Anthony Grote / Gameplan Media
After a coming-of-age triumph at the MyLife Dusi Canoe Marathon in 2020 with Andy Birkett, Khumbulani Nzimande hopes to replicate this victory with Mpilo Zondi during the 2022 event from February 17 to 19.
Nzimande’s abilities were never questioned as he grew more and more and gained confidence in all the river conditions he raced in. However, his victory with Birkett was the highlight of his career.
Gameplan Media reports that the preparation for this victory in 2020 was crucial for Nzimande as he spent long periods with Birkett and believes that the time spent with the latter helped to improve his skills as a paddler.
“Training with Andy definitely made me a better paddler and made me think of my training differently,” said Nizmande of Team MyLife.
“I’m using a lot of what I learned with Andy in preparing for this year’s K2 and with Mpilo we’re working really hard.
“We’re lucky to live close to each other so we can train together all the time, but we try to mix our training from our K1s to our K2s.
“We talked about our race and how we want to make sure we’re as prepared as possible. “
Aim for a top 5
The pair secured a comfortable victory in the Ibis Point to Mbeje’s Store race and might have put a goal on their backs with this victory, however, Nzimande is not aiming too high for the Dusi in two months.
“We are very motivated to do well and we feel good in the boat together, but the field is going to be very strong so a top five for us would be a good result,” said Nzimande.
“It’s important to make sure we spend as much time as possible on the river and trips will be a big part of how we prepare.
“I’ve learned that knowing as much as possible about the river makes it easier and we want to make sure we’re ready for the race.”
Khumbulani Nzimande, who is eyeing the title.
Considering the current rains that KwaZulu-Natal has experienced in early summer, Nzimande believes this will be better preparation for the iconic February race.
“It’s great that we have water in the system and with the rains that we had, it gave us a good chance to go on the river early in the season.
“There are also some exciting races to come on the Dusi which will be of great help to us in starting the race,” added a positive Nzimande.
Between Nzimande and Zondi they have 16 Dusi arrivals, proving that they have the experience to compete with the other top crews and that they will be a team that the rest of the hopefuls will be wary of in 2022.