Saskia Hockly wins Team SA's first medal at Canoe World Championships

Durban schoolgirl Saskia Hockly opened SA's medal tally with a bronze medal.

Saskia Hockly won the bronze medal at the ICF Canoe World Marathon Championships (Junior K1). Picture: @EADP_KZN/Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG - Team South Africa has bagged its first medal at the ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships on the Arges River in Romania.

Durban schoolgirl Saskia Hockly opened SA's medal tally with a bronze medal.

The World Championships currently taking place in Romania opened on Thursday with the Junior Girls K1 where Hockly finished third.

The teenager spent the entire race at the front with Hungarian paddlers Maja Horvath and Julia Regenye, however, when it came down to the final portage, Hockly showed signs of fatigue and had to settle for a bronze medal.

“I was very stoked with my start and pulled all the way to the top turn and it was just the three of us through the whole race,” the Danville Girls High School matric pupil said.

The 17-year-old said she was already working on plans to get better going forward.

"I don’t think that I’ve ever had a race that hard before, so it was a nice challenge for me and I think in the future I can do a bit more to try and improve my stamina but the other girls definitely deserved their medals. The portage was super long so I didn’t want to burn myself out on the first portage; I ran the first part hard and then eased up a bit.

"The support on the portage is incredible and the crowd was behind me the whole time and I’m grateful to have such incredible support from the South Africans in this race."

This comes after she bagged the junior girls surfski world title at the ICF Ocean Racing World Championships in Lanzarote earlier this year.

Her younger sister, Valma Jean, will also be competing at the ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships on Saturday.

“Tomorrow, I’ll get back in the boat after I watch my sister's race in the junior K2 before I start preparing for my K2 race with Jenna Nisbet on Sunday.”

They both attend Danville Park Girls’ High School and are members of Umhlanga Rocks Surf Lifesaving Club.

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