Shaun Rubenstein

A South African paddler living a dream…


I was born on the 5th of November 1983 and I have lived in Johannesburg all my life with my parents, Terry and Cheryl and my brother Cedric. Ever since I can remember sport has been a part of my life,partly due to being brought up in a sports crazy family. Both my parents and brother have always taken part in various sporting events and it was natural for me to follow in their footsteps. We are a very close family from whom I have complete support, which has enabled me to follow my dreams in the manner I have.

When I was 4 years old I started doing Judo and I was the South African champion in the U/21kg category at the age of six. I continued judo untill I was about 10 years old and then I took to triathlons and duathlons, where I was the South African champion in my age group. I really thought that I would continue triathlons until I was a senior, but when I was 15 I started canoeing and that was that!!! I was hooked!!!

As a junior canoeist, I competed in all forms of the sport, from sprints to river marathons. I was a member of the South African junior sprint and flatwater marathon teams, competing internationally and my best junior result was at the 2001 World Marathon Champs where I won a bronze medal.

Competing at the Olympic Games has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember. In 2002, at the age of 18 I decided that I wanted to focus purely on flatwater canoeing in an attempt to satisfy my life long dream. Sprint canoeing turned out to be the vehicle that I would use in my pursuit of getting to the Olympics. I have been competing internationally at senior level since 2002 and my best results in the sprinting arena came in 2006 when I made the 1000m K1 A-final at the World Championships in Hungary, finishing 8th overall. A highlight of my career however was definitely winning the World Title, in September 2006, at the World Marathon Champs. I competed in both the K1 event, where I won the gold medal and the K2 event, where I won the silver medal with my partner Shaun Biggs in a sprint finish with Marathon legend Manual Busto and his K2 partner. In 2009 I also won a silve medal at the World Marathon champs, this time with Ant Stott in the mens K2 race.

2007 proved to be a decisive year in my paddling career. Not only did I qualify to compete at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, by placing 7th in the 1000m K1 at the World Championships, I won my first International medal in sprinting at the Szeged World Cup, winning bronze in the 500m K1 and I rounded up the season ranked 3rd on the ICF world ranking for my consistent results throughout the season. Qualifying for the Olympics was a massive milestone in my career.

2008 was a very special year in that I competed at the Olympic Games. Its hard to descibe what it fels like to achieve a life long dream, but walking into the Birds nest stadium at the Opening ceremony and competing for South Africa at the Olympics is arguably the greatest experience in my life. Unfortunatey I only managed to place 4th in my 1000m and 500m K1 semi finals at the games which meant that I never qualified for the finals. While I was bitterly disappointed, it has helped feed my desire to win a medal at the next Olympic Games in London 2012.

I am currently focusing all my energy into my K2 combination with my partner Mike Arther. We will be competing in the new Olympic distance of 200m and we have our eyes firmly set on winning a medal at the Games. We have been racing together now for 2 years and we have won a silver medal at the Szeged World Cup and we have placed 6th at the World Champs so we are confident that we have what it takes to get right to the very top of the 200m K2 racing category.

Away from canoeing, I enjoy reading, watching movies and generally being outdoors. I am currently engaged to my beautiful fiance, Ruvenna and we will be getting married at the end of this year. I have completed a degree in Sports Management from the university of Johannesburg and I am currently studying an MBL (Masters of Business Leadership) at the Unisa Graduate School of Business Leadership.

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