Mtolo and Msia ready to conquer the Dusi in a Day again

Mtolo and Msia ready to conquer the Dusi in a Day again

Pietermaritzburg – Msawenkosi Mtolo and Thabani Msia line up for Friday‚Äôs Non Stop Dusi Canoe Marathon as reluctant favourites to make it five wins in a row in the grueling “Dusi in a Day” race from Bishopstowe to Durban.

Mtolo was cagey about making any predictions this week, but with a record of four wins in row for the tough 108km endurance race, it is hard to look beyond the defending champions.

“The Dusi Non-Stop is a tough race and anything can happen on the route to Durban,” said Mtolo when asked how he saw the race developing. “We will see what happens once we start.

“Everyone who has entered can win it. I do not know who our toughest competition will be and I do not want to make any predictions, because so much can happen. We will see who we are racing once we have started.

“Every year we finish and say we are not coming back. And then after Dusi we say we will do it again … and I am sure after this year’s race on Friday, I will say “Never again”.”

Mtolo has enjoyed a stellar season with a series of victories with Sbonelo Khwela in the races leading up to the Dusi. However, the pair were narrowly beaten in the three-day classic, the race they so desperately wanted to win.

The Dusi runner up was philosophical about the defeat, acknowledging that it was always going to be tough to beat Andy Birkett, who now has 14 Dusi wins to his name, and his young partner, Matt Fenn.

“We hoped to win the Dusi of course, but we knew that Andy is a legend at the Dusi and we knew it was always going to be difficult.”

Mtolo’s partner for Friday’s endurance test has had a mixed season of results. Together with Nqobile Makhanya, Msia was always in the top five in the races leading up to the Dusi, but in the three-day race the pair struggled to find the same form and finished a disappointing, but still creditable, ninth.

However, with four consecutive wins in the Non-Stop, Msia has proven his ability to handle the tough challenges of a seven- to eight-hour race and his pedigree means he is sure to be at least in the mix as they pair tackle the Dusi in a Day.

One interesting entrant in Friday’s race will be the young, recently-crowned Dusi Champion Matt Fenn. The current World U23 Surfski Champion has opted to tackle the Non Stop in a single and it will be fascinating to see how the youngster fares after his epic victory while partnering Birkett a couple of weeks ago.

The Non-Stop Dusi Canoe Marathon will start at Bishopstowe Hall at 5.15am on Friday