How long have you been involved in performance canoeing/kayaking?
Just over a year, although I started paddling with Seaboard Canoe Association when I was 9
What motivated you to begin performance canoeing/kayaking?
Following a spinal cord injury I was treated at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, which is the birthplace of the Paralympic Games. While I was there I learnt how important sport would be as part of my rehab so when I was discharged I was intent on doing as much sport as possible. Through the British Paralympic Association’s Paralympic Potential road to Rio campaign I was invited by GB Para canoe to train on a full time basis and just 3 months after I was discharged from hospital I started training full time.
What is your main discipline?
V1 TA 200m. A V1 is a Tahitian boat called a Va’a, a single blade boat with an outrigger. TA (Trunk and Arms) is my classification. (LTA and A being the other two classes). For the Rio Games, 200m will be my only event.
Which club are you a member of?
GB Para Canoe
Who is your coach?
Matt Lawrence and a host of others behind the scenes
What are your greatest achievements thus far?
This season was great, getting silver at the European and World Championships and gold at the National Regatta.
What do you hope to achieve in the future?
I would like to win the European and World Championships but the real drive within the squad is Gold at Rio.
Who has been the greatest influence in your career?
Mike McClure. Without the work that he put into Seaboard when I was a wee lad I would not have been involved in such a diverse and amazing sport. Trips to Ardnabannon or surfing up at Bushmills got me hooked. Working through Star Awards and then coaching qualifications has given me a solid foundation to build this new racing career on. I would not be successful without that work from Mike, and many others all those years ago.
Who are you currently sponsored by?
UK Sport Lottery Fund allows me to train full time and Bridgedale socks keeps my toes warm!
When you’re not canoeing/kayaking what do you like to do in your spare time?
When I’m training hard eating and sleeping! Though I just came back from holiday Scuba Diving so as long as I’m outdoors or active I’m happy!
Do you have superstitions before you compete?
No superstitions but our team has a sports psychologist who helps me develop a mental warm-up routine, based on Dr Steve Peters Chimp Paradox, which to my surprise is pretty effective!!
Which sporting athlete do you admire the most?
During one of my early training sessions at GB canoeing I found myself sat next to Etienne Scott warming up in the gym. He was telling me how inspiring it was watching our Para program working hard. I found it funny as I had seen him in canoe focus for many years and was a little awestruck that I was next to an Olympic Gold medallist. Any athlete prepared to put in the hard work when it’s not so much fun gets my respect. Etienne was injured and was still there 6 days a week.
What if any injuries have you sustained?
The spinal cord injury itself throws up problems and I picked up a costochondral junction strain because I was compensating for the back issues, other than that fit as a fiddle.
Facebook: Jonny Young