KUANTAN, September 10 – The fourth stage race of the Pahang Ocean Paddle International Challenge (POPIC) 2022, which took place in cloudy weather and light rain today, saw the four-time world champion Dawid Mocke make a strong come back – leaving his nearest challenger to win the fourth stage of the Open category Men’s International Single Ocean Race at Pantai Cherating here today.
In the women’s event, Malaysia’s best bet Aimi Ayumi Azwan brightened her chances of taking second place overall ahead of tomorrow’s fifth and final stage after seeing off her closest rival Irin Neegree today.
Today’s race saw the South African compete hard with his two closest challengers in the early stages before Mocke and Kent Jenkinson left MacKenzie Hynard far behind as they reached the second buoy.
Mocke, who had previously won the first and second stages but dropped to third place yesterday, finished the roughly 20-kilometer race in one hour, 44 minutes and 4.07 seconds, some 13 seconds ahead of Jenkinson who arrived in 1 ’44:18.91s.
Hynard, who won the third stage at Pantai Balok, limped after the landing to reach the finish line with a time of 1’49:34.82s and fell out of contention for the overall title.
“Today’s race was very intense between myself, Kent and Macca (MacKenzie). But we managed to leave Macca and Kent and I battled hard for the last 4km where he try to overtook me several times.
“For tomorrow, I am sure the race will be more challenging. Macca definitely wants to make a come back.
“I believe the fifth stage is the most difficult because we will face a combination of river and sea,” he said.
Meanwhile Aimi Ayumi arrived at the finish line with a time of 2’14:00.52s behind the overall leader Danielle McKenzie who recorded a time of 1’49:26.14s.
Irin, on the other hand, arrived in 2’15:10.37s, and saw her closest competitor consolidate her position in second place overall despite being separated by about a minute.
“After a few days, I started to be able to read the waves. Today is very helpful even though this stage is the most difficult compared to the previous three,” she said.
Regarding tomorrow’s race in Pantai Teluk Cempedak, Aimi Ayumi said she expects the race to be more difficult because there will be a mixture of river currents and sea waves because all racers will start paddling in the river basin in addition to the beach conditions in the bay.
POPIC 2022, which takes place in five stages starting at Pantai Hiburan, Rompin next at Pantai Legenda, Pekan followed by Pantai Balok, Kuantan.
A total of 39 rowers participated in the men’s event and 11 competed in the women’s event for this main category.
This race, which offers a total prize of approximately RM300,000, is presented by StageMaker Sdn. Bhd. as an organizer in collaboration with the Pahang state government, Tourism Pahang and Tourism Malaysia.