Words: Dave Mcleod | Photo: Actionography
As late entries for the 2014 Dusi Canoe Marathon pour in, the name of four times champion Ant Stott was conspicuous by its absence, and the former Canoe Marathon World Champion has confirmed that he had abandoned his K2 challenge with Matt Bouman after suffering another serious ankle injury.
37 year-old Stott (Bamboo Warehouse), who last won the Dusi title in 2009 and finished second in the race’s closest ever finish to Andy Birkett in 2011, was planning a serious Dusi campaign with lifesaving ironman Bouman, and was working hard on both his paddling and running, before an accident in the Drakensberg ended those dreams.
“I was running alongside the river watching some friends kayaking Thrombosis Gorge on the uMzimkulu outside Underberg when I slipped on a particularly steep section of the path and fell badly on my right ankle,” said Stott.
With some totally torn and other badly strained ligaments, Stott consulted several specialists before resigning himself to the fact that his 2014 Dusi challenge was over, and he informed Bouman.
“We were really going to give it a full go,” said Stott. “I am not sure if it would have been enough to threaten some of the top crews but we were confident of doing really well, so this is frustrating!”
Stott’s career has been hampered by ankle injuries. Early in his paddling career he shattered the bones in his left ankle during a tubing accident on the Lower uMzimkulu, and in recent years he has had to battle with a serious Achilles tendon injury, which side-lined him from the last K1 Dusi.
In the past two years he has turned his hand to waveskiing and quickly proved that his river racing prowess and fitness brought significant value to his surf-based efforts with him now being a regular feature of the inter-provincial waveski competition scene.
Stott however is determined to be part of the Dusi this year, a race that he has won four times and finished second in eight times, and will act as the race’s helicopter correspondent for Radio 2000 as well as keeping seconds following paddlers a further back in the race, spectators on the river banks and those unable to be attend the event well informed via regular Twitter updates and CoverItLive online commentary contributions throughout.
The Dusi Canoe Marathon 2014 starts in Pietermaritzburg on Thursday 13 February and ends in Durban on Saturday 15 February 2014. More information can be found at www.dusi.co.za