IT’S rare enough that there aren’t enough superlatives in the lexicon of the English language to describe Saskia Hockly’s accomplishments over the past year.
Phenomenal maybe, sensational maybe, but all those words don’t quite live up to the hard work and dedication the 18-year-old put into her craft.
The list of accolades for the Mount Moreland resident is impressive and worth repeating for those unfamiliar with her exploits.
In September of this year, Hockly represented the South African team, winning bronze in the junior women’s K1 race at the International Canoe Federation (ICF) Canoe Marathon World Championships in Portugal.
Related story: Team SA finishes Canoe Marathon World Championships in style
This performance was a repeat of his appearance at the same championships in Romania in 2021.
Less than 24 hours later, Saskia joined her sister Valma Jean in the Junior Women’s K2 race, winning silver and helping to add to Team SA’s impressive medal haul, which saw them finish fourth in the table. medals.
Just 30km away, in Viana do Castelo in Portugal, Saskia won gold and defended her junior women’s (U18) title at the ICF Ocean Racing World Championships.
It was fitting that Saskia was then named the Junior Sportswoman of the Year award winner for a second straight year, an award she shared with swimmer Matthew Sates in 2021, who won the Junior Sportsperson of the Year award from the year.
“I knew I was nominated for the category, but I forgot about it. I was actually in Portugal when the results were announced. I received a message from the president of Canoeing Kim Pople, to congratulate me. It really came as a shock because I was up against two great athletes including Tatum Botha and Tyler Jacobs. Tatum is a good friend of mine and an incredible athlete, and she has proven herself time and time again, so it was a shock and an honor,” she said.
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Speaking about her medal haul at the World Surfski and Canoe Marathon Championships, Saskia said the bronze medal she won at the Canoe Marathon World Championships (ICF) meant the most to her.
“The caliber of the athletes this year was top notch. It was much tougher and more competitive. I have to say that the bronze medal I won at the marathon championships has got to be one of the hardest earned medals of my career. I am more proud of this bronze than of my gold medal at the surfksi world championships. And then to top off the most surreal race weekend, there was silver with my sister Valma Jean. It really is something to be proud of. Not many people can say they ran with their sister and got on the podium,” she said.
The IIE Varsity College Durban North student also paid tribute to her family and her coach, Matthew Bouman.
“My family have been so supportive and they are always behind me. Having them with me to celebrate was such a great memory. My coach, Matthew Bouman, has also been incredibly supportive. All the drills and workouts we have facts this year have really prepared me mentally for the challenges ahead. You go through stages in your head where you wonder, is it necessary, but overcoming a seemingly insurmountable obstacle is so rewarding in the end,” a- she declared.
Saskia will move up to the U23 age group next year and hopes to tap into her wealth of experience in the junior divisions to make her mark on the world stage.
She also competes in the Wall and Back Surfski series, hoping to get a hat-trick of series wins.