Jenny Egan enjoys ‘dream come true’ end to season

Irish canoeist wins bronze at the Canoe Marathon World Championships in South Africa

Jenny Egan (right) celebrates after winning bronze  in the women’s K1 at the Canoe Marathon World Championships in South Africa alongside  gold medallist Lani Belcher of Britain (centre) and Vanda Kiszli (silver). Photograph:   Tim Lubbe.

Jenny Egan (right) celebrates after winning bronze in the women’s K1 at the Canoe Marathon World Championships in South Africa alongside gold medallist Lani Belcher of Britain (centre) and Vanda Kiszli (silver). Photograph: Tim Lubbe.

 

After over a decade of trying, Jenny Egan finally nailed a key goal. The 30-year-old took bronze in the gruelling 26.2 kilometre K1 race at the Canoe Marathon World Championships in South Africa on Saturday.

“To finish the season like this is a dream come true. I have been waiting for this for so many years,” she told The Irish Times.

Egan won a world championship medal, a bronze, as a junior, and has come close to matching it on more than one occasion – most notably last year, when a handle broke on her boat when everything was going well in Brandenburg.

This year, she was anxious about the long-distance test at the end of a tough campaign, but the concern was unnecessary.

“I felt great,” she said. The portages, where she ran with the boat, have never been her strong point. But this time it was different. “They were my best portages ever.”

Egan was part of a four-woman breakaway group which diminished to three when multi world medal winner Renata Csay of Hungary dropped back with most of the race in Pietermaritzburg gone.

Lani Belcher, representing Britain, broke away with 150 metres left to take gold, with another Hungarian, Vanda Kiszli, taking the silver. Behind them Egan paddled home in a secure third place.

Ireland had one other notable finish at the event, with Ronan Ó Foghladha taking fifth in the men’s junior K1.

The men’s K1 was won by local man Hank McGregor, with Barry Watkins of Ireland taking 19th. McGregor competed in the Liffey Descent last year. This year’s Liffey Descent, with Egan now a notable attraction, will be held on Saturday week, September 23rd.

Egan had an excellent start to the season in the K1 5,000 metres, the marathon event held at the Canoe Sprint World Cups. She won gold in the World Cup in Portugal in May and followed it up with a bronze in the World Cup in Serbia. She took 10th in the canoe sprint World Championships in the Czech Republic last month.

She has been invited, all expenses paid, to a marathon World Cup event in China in October, but will probably decline. The international season has already come to a fitting conclusion.

However, it has been a poor year so far for Irish canoe slalom: at the final World Cup, in La Seu d’Urgell in Spain, Irish competitors did not make semi-finals in the key events.

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