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Johannesburg – Lance Kime was crowned the new Dusi canoe marathon champion after winning the third and final stage in record time from Inanda Dam to Blue Lagoon in Durban on Saturday.
The 21-year-old dashed the hopes of both Andrew Birkett, bidding to win a fourth successive crown, and Sbonelo Zondi, who was on track to become the first black paddler to win the race in its 62-year history until he fell out of his boat with 14 kilometres to go.
Kime’s overall winning time was eight hours and 29 seconds, comfortably inside the previous mark of 8:03.22 done in 2007 by three-time former champion Ant Stott.
The stage time of 2:15.38 was also a best ever one, surpassing the oldest men’s record in Dusi history, that of John Edmonds (2:18.39) from 1991.
The 2005 winner Hank McGregor came second in 8:04.38, while Zondi (8:05.50) finished third despite winning the first two stages of the race on Thursday and Friday.
The 24-year-old, who began the final day with a 68 second lead, saw his lead quickly whittle as Kime flew passed him on the Side Chute Rapid, nine kilometres into the race.
Zondi, though, regained the lead at Burma Road Portage, where he had built a 90 second lead by the top of the hill and was looking well on his way to a historic win by the time they re-entered the water.
However, he took a swim at Pumphouse Weirs, 22km into the 36km final stage and the rest was history, with both Kime and McGregor surpassing him. – Sapa