With just three days until the 2022 MyLife Dusi Canoe Marathon gets underway at Camps Drift in Pietermaritzburg, the much-fancied partnership of Thulani Mbanjwa and Msawenkosi Mtolo is eyeing an historic triumph when they get to Durban on Saturday.
The Team MyLife pair has been in strong pre-Dusi form and have put themselves right in the mix as title contenders, with Mabanjwa hoping to add to his historic Dusi triumph with Martin Dreyer in 2008.
Having had a busy build-up to this year’s race, this last weekend before has been a blessing for paddlers who have had the opportunity to recharge their batteries going into the three days of racing to Blue Lagoon.
“There is nothing we can do now in the last few days before the race,” the experienced Mbanjwa said.
“You just need to rest the body and lay low until the race because you want to be in the best possible shape for Thursday.
“We are really looking forward to the race and we know that this year is going to be really tough.”
Despite teaming up for the Dusi for the first time in 2022, the pair of Mbanjwa and Mtolo know each other well having spent a number of years training together.
“Over the last few years Msawe (Mtolo) and myself along with a number of the other guys in the valley have been training together especially during last year’s K1 Dusi.
“We did all our training together so there are no secrets between us and I think that’s also why we work well together as a K2 combination,” Mbanjwa added.
Mbanjwa will be looking to complete his 24th Dusi this year in the 71st year of the race and for Mtolo to learn from a veteran of the race is invaluable.
“It’s been amazing for me to be paddling with Banji this year and he has been great in teaching me all the tactics as well as how to pace your training,” Mtolo said.
“If you have a week of training you can’t go all-out on Monday because you still have the rest of the week to train.
“On the river he’s taught me to be more confident because I was a little nervous at some of the rapids but now I am fine.”
The pair will have their work cut out for them at this year’s Dusi with a number of crews in line for podium spots.
Andy Birkett and Dave Evans will be their biggest threats, however Hank McGregor and Matthew Millward, Khumbulani Nzimande and Mpilo Zondi, Banetse Nkhoesa and Siseko Ntondini as well as Nqobile Makhanya and Sbonelo Khwela.