CANI GB Sprint Athletes
Many congratulations to para sprint AIP athlete Jonny Young who won a silver medal at the Canoe Sprint European Championships in Brandenburg on 12th July. Jonny was competing in the TA V1 200m event and during the heats he set the world’s fastest time. In the final he finished just behind gold medal winner, Italy’s Pier Alberto Buccoliero. This was an incredible performance from Jonny who was competing in his first ever international event and hopes are high that he can go one better next month when he competes in the World Championships. Everyone at CANI is delighted for Jonny and wishes him well for the rest of the season.
Jonny in action
Prior to Jonny competing in the European Championships, he gave the following interview to GB Canoeing talking about gaining GB selection;
“The GB Paracanoeing team contains the lion’s share of fierce competitors and inspirational characters. One of the them, Jonny Young, is a new name in this year’s Europeans line up after qualifying for the TA V1 200m event.
The Belfast 29 year old broke his back whilst skiing in December 2012. Yet the day he was discharged following five month’s hospitalisation at Stoke Mandeville he applied to the British Paralympic Association and was pointed towards the GB Paracanoeing talent ID weekend.
A white water paddler since age nine, Young passed the assessment and was accepted on the programme. He trained hard thought the summer and began racing in September. This week, just over a year since leaving hospital he has qualified for the European Championships in the Va TA category.
“The very first weekend I was brought in for the talent ID day, I remember Steve Harris (GB Paracanoe Programme Manager) saying, “You’re not here for the t-shirt; this is all about the Rio 2016 Olympics,” says Young, who is joined in the team by Ian Marsden (K1 A) and Rob Oliver (K1 LTA).
“The getting the t-shirt turned out to be easy, because since then I know how hard I have had to work to get this far. But being selected for the Europeans is a big milestone along a greater progression.”
In Nottingham last weekend Young finished third, and was the first in the TA category to cross the line in the Para Men’s V1 200m final. He had set a PB of 52.11 and beaten 2012 World Champion and 2013 silver medallist, Nick Heald. Afterwards coaches said he had done enough to qualify for the team, advising him to stop racing so as not to aggravate an existing rib injury.
It was another reminder to Young of the GB coaches’ precision in preparing a team with a large pool of closely matched athletes for the long term medal success in the Rio 2016 Paralympics.
“It was frustrating not to keep racing but good that I had done enough in the previous regattas to be selected,” said Young
“The coaches and staff are what make the difference and without them looking after me I’d have just kept racing. It’s such a small margin between the group of us in the squad that that’s what makes all the difference. Its little decisions like that on a daily basis which all contribute to the long term goal of the Rio Games.”
An outdoor instructor before his injury, Young is now a full time athlete supported by the UK Sport Podium Potential Programme. Based with the GB squad in Nottingham he has fitted in well and enjoys the camaraderie of a close knit, motivated programme.
“It’s a really strong squad and it’s a really nice atmosphere which gives me a lot of confidence going to Europe because I know how good all these guys are,” he said. “I actually don’t really care about not knowing the others I’ll be racing against because I know that I’ve already beaten some of the strongest paddlers in the world to be able to get there in the first place.
“I am excited about being in the Europeans team because it is a really big first step. That’s the start and we are now in the next chapter of the story towards Rio. It does feel very good to make that first step.”
We will have a full report next month on Jonny’s performance at the Europeans in Brandenburg.
Afton Fitzhenry has embarked on her fulltime GB Canoeing Girls4Gold programme which commenced on July 1st. Afton is now based in Nottingham and we will be regularly providing updates on her progress.
Afton (centre) pictured with GB Talent Coach Mark Hoile and CANI Development Manager Ashley Hunter
Sprint Development Squad News.
Ray Sweetlove is busy preparing the sprint development squad athletes over the summer with regular strength and conditioning and water sessions. The squad hope to travel to a number of events over the summer including the Kilcullen Sprints in July, Irish Championships in August and National Junior Regatta in Nottingham in September.
Surf Kayak and Waveski European Championships.
Surf AIP athletes Marty McCann, Chris Hobson, Andy McClelland, Corin & Jake King are all travelling to the Surf Kayak and Waveski European Championships in Santa Cruz from 21st – 25th July. Everyone at CANI wishes them well and hopefully in next month’s e-zine we will be reporting on a large medal haul.
Best wishes to the CANI surf development squad who are also travelling to the event to compete in the junior section of the competition, undoubtedly this will be a great experience for all the squad members and is seen as an important part of their development. In preparation for the event the squad have been receiving weekend sessions from Paul Harrington and Marty McCann and also extra midweek coaching from Andy McClelland and Matt Pothecary.
Slalom Development and Talent Squad News.
The CANI slalom development and talent squads are taking part in a training camp in early July in Sault Brenaz, France. The group will receive a full weeks coaching from Matt McKnight and Huw Swetnum. We will have a full report in next month’s e-zine.
Slalom AIP athletes Eoin Teague, Cade Ryan and Elliott Davidson competed for Ireland at the Canoe Slalom European Junior/U23 Championships in Skopje, Macedonia at the beginning of July. Unfortunately none of the athletes progressed beyond the heat stages of the Men’s K1 event however Cade Ryan and his partner Liam Jegou were finalists in the Men’s C2 Junior event finishing as 8th Nation, a fantastic result and hopefully Cade can continue this level of performance throughout the summer.