Sbonelo Zondi has been forced to change his plans for Friday's Non-Stop Dusi Canoe Marathon after Andy Birkett decided not to take part. Photo: Rogan Ward

Johannesburg – The 2014 Dusi champion Sbonelo Zondi is changing his K1 plans to a K2 entry with Canoe Marathon World Champion Hank McGregor for Friday's Non-Stop Dusi Canoe Marathon.

Zondi, who raced to Dusi victory with fellow EuroSteel star Andy Birkett earlier this month, had initially hoped to continue his journey with Birkett in the Non-Stop Dusi.

He was forced to change his plans when Birkett decided not to take part, leaving Zondi partnerless.

Zondi was preparing to do the marathon alone, when a last-minute change of heart saw him get the ball rolling for the combination with McGregor.

“In the beginning my plan wasn't to do Non-Stop Dusi on my own. I wanted to paddle with Andy Birkett again but when he told me he wasn't going to race Non-Stop. Then I decided to do it in my K1,” Zondi said.

“Even though I said I was okay doing it alone, I wasn't all that confident because it's a very long way.

“I woke up during the night on Monday night and something just told me that I was making a mistake and that I needed to find a partner for Non-Stop.”

He said he called McGregor, who replied on Tuesday saying he was happy to do the marathon with him.

“I'm really happy to have someone in the boat with me to talk to and to keep me motivated throughout the race,” Zondi said.

The Non-Stop Dusi Canoe Marathon begins at Camps Drift, Pietermaritzburg at 5.30am on Friday and finishes at Blue Lagoon, Durban. – Sapa.