TOP canoeists Anthony Stott and Michael Mbanjwa cemented their position as favourites to win this year's Dusi marathon later this month when they came from behind to win the Inanda Dam to Blue Lagoon race yesterday.
The start of the race was delayed by a good half-hour when the paddlers began to arrive at the start only to find the gates of the Msinsi Resort on the banks of the dam locked.
Once order had been restored the field of 500 paddlers - in 280 canoes - set off.
Stott and Mbanjwa floundered at first in the turbulent waters - bailing out water from their canoe - as the other contestants made a clean getaway.
"We managed to keep our cool and not panic," Stott said, "and then gradually worked our way forward until we caught Wayne Wilson and Paul Rabinowitz at the Umzinati Rapids and we realised they had problems of their own."
Wilson said: "We did not have a great day with several glitches slowing us down, and then we hit a rock at Side Chute and had to stop at Umzinyati to empty the water out and repair the damage."
Meanwhile Stott and Mbanjwa applied themselves to the task ahead and opened a two-and-a-half minute gap on Shaun Biggs and his cousin, 19-year-old Ben, to win the 35km equivalent of the third and last stage of the Dusi in two hours 32 minutes 13 seconds.
The Biggs boys and Dabulamanzi's Piers Cruickshanks and Jacques Theron were virtually together in second place in 2:35:50. - Sapa