Jonny Young – Paracanoe

British Canoeing Regatta July 2017

Name: Jonny Young

Hometown: Belfast

Programme: British Canoeing Podium (Paracanoe)

Discipline: Sprint Kayak (Paracanoe)

Race classes: Men’s KL3 200m

Notable racing achievements:

  • 2017 VL3 World, European, National Champion; KL3 World Bronze, European 5th, National Champion
  • 2016 KL3 World 8th, National Silver medal
  • 2015 VL3 World Silver
  • 2014 VL2 World, European Silver medals, National Champion
  • 2013 VL2 National Silver medal

How and when did you get into Canoeing/Kayaking?

I started kayaking aged 9, both at a local leisure centre in the pool and through Seaboard Canoe Association which was introduced to some friends via the scouts.  This was all recreationally based but lead me to a host of star awards and then some coaching qualifications.  When I left school I became an outdoor instructor and enjoyed taking groups out on rivers in both kayaks and canoes, with a definite preference for whitewater.

After sustaining an incomplete spinal cord injury in 2012 I was treated at Stoke Mandeville hospital, which is the birthplace of the Paralympic games.  When I was discharged I was looking for a way to use sport to further my rehab and was offered the opportunity by British Canoeing to train as part of the Paracanoe squad.  I had never thought of racing sprint boats before the talent identification weekend but very quickly the racing instinct kicked in and I knew I wanted to be the fastest paddler I could be.  I relocated and went from strength to strength, both in terms of performance but more importantly in terms of mobility.  I went from a full time wheelchair user to being fully ambulant, using only a small splint on my ankle these days.


What is your favourite aspect of the sport?

The rehabilitation I have gained from paddling is hard to ignore but I love getting to experience environments only accessible by boat, whether that’s a deep river gorge or a remote island off coast or even racing in a new country at an international regatta, paddling has treated me well!!