John Sumegi | Eda Egger | John Southwood
Canoeing greats of Orange - John Southwood, Eda Egger & John Sumegi
John Z Sumegi
A - Moscow 1980 Olympic blazer.
B - Montreal 1976 Olympic tracksuit.
John Sumegi was born in Orange and educated at Canobolas High School and Kinross Wolaroi. Under the guidance of his father, John and his sister trained on Lake Canobolas near Orange and both went on to win State and National Championships. John won State and National titles in K1 over 500m every year from age 11 to 19. At the age of 16 he tasted his first international competition when he gained a creditable tenth place in the Junior World Championships in Romania.
John also contested world championships in Switzerland (1973), Bulgaria (1977), Yugoslavia (1978) and West Germany (1979). In West Germany, John won the silver medal in K1 over 500m and was placed fourth in K4 over 1000m.
John teamed with Orange Olympian John Southwood in the build up for the Montreal Olympics and the two local paddlers represented Australia proudly to come into eighth position in the 500m final.
John Southwood retired after Montreal and John Sumegi moved to Melbourne to continue his training. His dedication was rewarded at the Moscow Olympics in 1980 with a silver medal in the K1 500m event and a fourth place in the K1 over 1000m.
Disillusioned by the political pressures and general lack of support for canoeing, John retired after Moscow. However, he was persuaded to make a comeback to try and qualify for the Seoul Olympics in 1988, but after a typical dynamic preparation, John found that the time was against him and he was unfortunate to miss a place for his third Olympics.
John Sumegi moved to Queensland and continued to train young canoeists as head coach of the Institute of Sport.
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Eda R Egger (nee Sumegi)
Eda Egger was born in Irlback, Germany on 11 May 1949 and moved with her family to Australia when she was just eight months old. On their arrival in Australia in 1950 the family settled in Orange, worked hard and became highly valued citizens in the community.
Eda attended Orange Infants School, Orange Rural School and eventually completed her Higher School Certificate at Orange High School. Eda's father, Charlie Sumegi, was an enthusiastic supporter of canoeing, and took his family along to the Canobolas Sailing and Canoeing Club where Eda, her brother John and sister Sue soon became very talented paddlers.
The Canobolas Sailing and Canoeing Club was founded in about 1959 by Joe Runeman, and it was his son, Hank Runeman who was then working with Olympian John Southwood, who took the young Sumegi family under his wing and guided them along the way to numerous State and National titles. John Sumegi was to go on and represent Australia in two Olympics at Montreal in 1976 and was a Silver medallist at Moscow in 1980.
Younger sister Sue also won numerous State titles at various ages, in both singles and doubles, often competing with those well above her age and she was considered unlucky not to have also taken out National Honours.
Eda started serious canoeing at about 15 and within three years she had taken out three successive State and Open titles and numerous State Age titles. In the Australian Championships in 1969, Eda won the prestigious National K1 Open Women's title over 1000m. She then paired with Victorian Kay McPherson to win Australian Open Titles in K2 over 500m, 1000m and 5000m to bring home four Gold Medals from the Nationals.
In 1970, Eda married Peter Egger, also a well-known slalom champion, and the husband and wife team represented Australia at the Classic 25 mile Wild River race down the Arkansas River from Denver, Colorado in June 1970. In January 1972, Peter and Eda moved to Sydney and continued to enjoy success with the Rivers Canoe Club at Tempe on the Cooks River.
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John Allen Southwood
Triple Olympic Canoeist
A - Munich 1972 Olympic singlet.
B - Munich 1972 Olympic tie.
C - Montreal 1976 Olympic singlet.
John Southwood was born in Orange on 18 January 1943 and represented Australia in successive Olympic Games at Mexico City in 1968, Munich in 1972 and Montreal in 1976. He won his first Australian sprint championship in 1966 and within 10 years he had won 25 Australian Canoeing championships, represented Australia in three Olympics and competed at the World Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark.
John trained at Lake Canobolas near Orange and his Olympic rivals found it laughable that his training was done on a waterway barely 500m long and done while in full time employment as a carpenter. It was his skill as a carpenter that enabled him to construct much of his own training equipment. John's dedication and determination was rewarded by the financial support of the Orange Community, which largely made it possible for him to compete at Mexico City and Copenhagen.
In Mexico City John performed creditably to make the semi-finals in K2 over 1000m. At his peak in 1969 he scooped the Australian titles for K1, taking out the triple of 500m, 1000m and 10,000m events. He turned in a great effort in 1970 to be placed seventh in the K1 over 1000m in the world championships in Copenhagen.
John now resides in Orange.
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