One of South Africa’s brightest river racing stars Msawenkosi Mtolo will be hoping to continue his rise after he won the opening Dusi 2023 seeding race at the Clanfin Umpetha Challenge.
Mtolo beat a strong field of paddlers at the first seeding and qualifying race for the 2023 Dusi and for the young Team MyLife paddler, it was a good start to the season as he looks to build to the Dusi from 16-18 February.
“Part of my plan was to try and win the Umpetha so that I could get a good seeding and index for the Dusi,” Mtolo said. “Now that I’ve got that good index I can focus on my preparation for the race.
“I didn’t feel that strong at the Umpetha and I surprised myself a bit but I was happy that I managed to get the win but I know that Dusi is going to be a lot tougher than that.”
Following his first taste of a Dusi podium this year when he teamed up with Thulani Mbanjwa to finish second, Mtolo feels he’s got confidence going into the next edition of the race.
“I know what it’s like to finish on the podium at the Dusi and I would love to have that feeling again in 2023 but it’s going to be a very hard race.
“A lot of the top paddlers weren’t racing at the Umpetha which means that the Dusi is going to be a very different race.
“I am going to be training hard through December with the team at Nagle Dam and I am hoping that that means I will have a good race,” he added.
Heading into the Dusi in February, Mtolo isn’t putting himself under pressure to perform and will take the race as it comes.
“I am not setting goals to finish in a certain position because I just want to have a good, clean race.
“If I can race well for three days and not make mistakes then we will see what happens and where I finish.
“The field is going to be very strong like it is every year and I cannot wait to race against the country’s best paddlers again.”