PEKAN, 8 September – Two world champions Dawid Mocke and Danielle McKenzie strengthened their position as leaders in the Pahang Ocean Paddle International Challenge (POPIC) 2022 canoe race after each won the Stage 2 of the Open International Single Ocean Race category at Pantai Legenda here today.

National rower Aimi Ayumi Azwan also proved her prowess to still competing fiercely in the fight to win at least second place overall.

Four-time world champion, Mocke finished the race in the men’s main category with a time of one hour 13:39.99 seconds but saw the rise of MacKenzie Hynard as the former under-23 world runner-up provided fierce competition from start to finish .

Hynard, 25, who yesterday finished third behind Jenkinson Kent, finished the 14 kilometer race in second place with a time of 1’13:42.18s while his rival from New Zealand trailed behind with a time of 1’14:09.57s.

With only a slight advantage owned by Mocke, 48, water sports fans can expect fierce competition in the final three races which will take place at Pantai Balok, Pantai Cherating and Pantai Teluk Cempedak in Kuantan later.

However, Mocke has collected RM6,000 after winning two stages of the race in a row in addition to approaching the lucrative prize of RM15,000 that awaits the overall winner of the five stages race.

“MacKenzie and Kent really gave me strong competition today. But I got an advantage at the end of the race when the wave from behind helped me run faster to the finish line,” he said.

Meanwhile 2019 world champion McKenzie lived up to expectation for the women’s category after winning the second stage race with a time of 1’19:27.00s.

The champion from New Zealand once again left rower from Thailand Irin Negree who recorded a time of 1’36:30.68s while Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) student Aimi Ayuni followed closely behind in third place with a time of 1’37:34.01s.

Commenting on her current position as overall leader after two races, McKenzie said she would continue to maintain her momentum.

“I am a racer, there is no fun attitude in me. I will keep trying because every day there are new things we can learn,” she said.

Aimi Ayuni, fresh from her victory in the recent Higher Education Institution Games (SukIPT) in Tanjung Malim, Perak who is now about two minutes behind Negree, determined to steal second place overall from the Thai competitor.

“My pace at the beginning of the race is a little bit slow, so it was already too late to catch up. Then, at the end of the race I fell. Tomorrow, God willing, I will try to leave Negree from the beginning.

“Today’s situation is easier because the water is calmer than yesterday’s strong waves. I’m not familiar with waves because I’m still new to this event,” said the athlete from Kuala Lumpur who represented Pahang.

POPIC 2022, which is being organized for the first time in this country, will take place as many as five stages of which Pantai Hiburan will be the location of the first stage.

The third stage will take place at Pantai Balok tomorrow, while Pantai Cherating will be the location for the fourth stage before the final stage in Pantai Teluk Cempedak, Kuantan.

A total of 39 rowers participated in the men’s event and 11 competed in the women’s event for the 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.



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