UK Sport Girls4Gold Programme
March began with the fantastic news that Afton Fitzhenry has been selected on the six week full time Girls4Gold programme based in Nottingham. The programme began in late March and will conclude in early May. At the start of January, Afton was one of around 650 other girls who attended initial screening assessment days, and now she is part of the final twelve out of which a small number will be selected to relocate to Nottingham and embark on a full time GB Canoeing supported elite athlete training programme. As has already been stated in previous e-zines we at CANI are extremely proud of what Afton has achieved so far and she is proving to be an excellent role model for all the other athletes within the development squads. Afton has now started to blog about her training program so you can keep up with all the developments.
Performance Paddlefest Conference
Another highlight in March was the ‘Performance Paddlefest’ event held on Sunday 23rd March at the Share Centre. This proved to be a very successful day with over 20 development squad members and talent coaches from across all the disciplines attending. The audience were treated to a number of excellent presentations and workshops with special thanks to Etienne Stott M.B.E. who delivered a fascinating insight into how he prepared for and delivered a gold medal in canoe slalom at the 2012 Olympics. Etienne also spent time on the water coaching slalom athletes, Ali McCreery, Jake Cochrane and Zeke Wilson. These boys really appreciated the opportunity to work with such a great athlete and Etienne proved to be a very inspirational person. Other presentations were received from areas including; strength and conditioning, sports nutrition and sports psychology. The event proved to be very popular and it is hoped that more multi – disciplinary events can be held in the future.
Etienne Stott M.B.E. giving a talk to paddlers at Paddlefest.
Development Squad News
All of the squads are currently busy preparing for a number of competitions over the coming weeks. The surf squad have been training with coaches Paul Harrington and Marty McCann and their first competitive event of the season, Ulster Surf Kayak & Wave Ski League Event One was scheduled to take place on Saturday 29th March at Portrush, however due to poor surfing conditions the event was cancelled so the first event will now take place on Saturday 12th April in Donegal. It is hoped a large number of squad members will attend and compete in a number of competition classes.
Huge congratulations to Eoin Teague who has made selection for the Ireland KI Men U23 canoe slalom team for the 2014 season. A highlight for Eoin will be competing in the Under 23 European Championships at Skopje in early July. A number of the slalom squad are preparing for an Easter trip to Grandtully and have regularly been training with coaches Matthew McKnight and Andrew Hadfield at Gilford and Shaw’s Bridge.
There are a number of sprint regettas scheduled to take place in Nottingham over the spring and summer months and it is hoped that a number of the squad members will compete in these. The winter indoor ergo programme has concluded for the season and it is hoped that the hard work that sprint members have put in over the winter months will prove beneficial when the members now take to the water to compete.