Rice brothers hit top form ahead of World Championships

South Africa’s Rice brothers have sent out an ominous warning ahead of next month’s ICF Ocean Racing World Championships after finishing first and second at the third and final 2017 World Cup event in Breizh, France, on the weekend.

Kenny Rice upstaged older brother Sean by 55 seconds in the men’s race, with Frenchmen filling the next three placings, Noe Pelizza edging out the Henot brothers, Valentin and Hector.

In the women’s race, local hope Angie Le Roux took the honours ahead of Spain’s Amaia Osaba, with another French paddler, Laury Marie Sainte, finishing third.

The results on the weekend have determined the top 30 paddlers in both the men’s and women’s events who have qualified directly for next month’s World Championships in Hong Kong.

Not surprisingly, South Africa has qualified 13 paddlers in the men’s event, headed by Sean and Kenny Rice, and including canoe marathon stars Hank McGregor, Andy Birkett and Jasper Mocke.

France has qualified seven paddlers and Spain six, with athletes from Australia, Germany, Portugal and Tahiti rounding out the direct qualifiers.

Mocke was third and Sean Rice fourth at the 2015 World Championships, finishing behind the Australian duo of Cory Hill and Clint Robinson, who have not raced this year.

Every country can nominate two athletes to compete in Hong Kong, laying open the possibility South Africa could have 15 competitors on the start line.

South Africa is also set to have a strong presence in the women’s event, with 10 athletes having qualified directly after the three World Cup races.

New Zealand’s Teneale Hatton, the defending champion from 2015, and France’s Angie Le Roux have earned direct qualification.

France has four women already qualified for Hong Kong, while Portugal has five, Australia two and single qualifiers from Great Britain, Germany, Hungary and Hatton from New Zealand.

The 2017 ICF Canoe Ocean Racing World Championships will be held on the weekend of November 18/19.

Final nominations for the event close this weekend. 

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