Paracanoe development team finish World Cup on a high with gold and bronze
on 26-05-2015 09:50
Following a highly successful European Championships at the start of May, where Great Britain’s Paracanoe team finished top nation with six medals, it was the turn of the second and third placed boats from the April Regatta, in Paralympic events, to take part in World Cup 2, which took place in Duisburg, Germany, 21-24 May.
As part of its commitment to developing strength and depth in this new Paralympic sport, British Canoeing had sent a development team of three men and three women to Germany, to be officially classified and to gain further international experience and in many cases, to make their international debut.
All six athletes rose to the challenge, with each of them making their respective finals. However on the final day of competition Charlotte Wilkinson-Burnett (Loughborough) in the women’s KL1 200m struck gold, having waited all week to race and make her international debut.
“It hasn’t quite sunk in yet! I arrived a week ago and have had to wait until one of the very last events to race. To win was awesome and I am still on cloud nine!" Charlotte Wilkinson-Burnett
An ecstatic Charlotte said: “It hasn’t quite sunk in yet! I arrived a week ago and have had to wait until one of the very last events to race. To win was awesome and I am still on cloud nine!
“We came here to get classified and to have a good learning experience rather than it being about the performance, although I did have my own expectations. If I look back six weeks I wasn’t sure I would get here, having battled with a shoulder injury since last autumn. So to have won and now have the opportunity to build on this and hopefully get selected for World Championships is surreal. I have loved every minute of it!”
Also making the podium was Tim Lodge (Guilford), who finished third in a competitive Men’s KL3 200m and collected the bronze medal. Delighted to have got his first international race under his belt he said: “It’s amazing! I have been training for two and a half years and to now represent my country and get a medal is unbelievable.
"At the age of 43 this is a new chapter in my canoeing and it has given me the confidence to go away and fine tune things ahead of the July selection regatta.” Tim Lodge
“I had no expectations when I came here. I knew my times were good but was not sure how I would cope with the pressure of competition. I was really nervous on the start line, so to get bronze I am ecstatic. At the age of 43 this is a new chapter in my canoeing and it has given me the confidence to go away and fine tune things ahead of the July selection regatta.”
Teammate Jonny Young (Nottingham) was 9th in the same event, in his first international race in the kayak, having recently swopped over from the Va‘a boat, once it was decided by the International Paralympic Committee to restrict events in Rio to kayaks.
Paracanoe Programme Manager, Steve Harris, was delighted with the performances and said: “We came here with the aim of giving our second and third placed boats in Paralympic events the opportunity to get international racing experience. They all coped extremely well with the step-up to the demands of competing at this level and in addition have put down some great performances good enough to make the finals and in Charlotte’s and Tim’s case to make the podium, which is fantastic.
“Heading into our World Championship trials in July we feel very well placed, following an outstanding European Championships earlier this month by our senior squad and now with our development squad gaining valuable experience here.
“We are confident that we will be able to select two athletes per event meeting the required standards and send them to Milan in August with the aim of qualifying Paralympic quota places in each of the three men’s and three women’s events, which requires a top six finish.
“It has been a really professional performance by our athletes, coaches and support staff this weekend.”
KL1 200m Charlotte Wilkinson-Burnett (Loughborough) – Final 1st
KL3 200m Samantha Scowen (Wokingham, Berkshire) – Final 4th
KL3 200m Kelda Wood (Westbury, Shropshire) – Final 6th
KL3 200m Tim Lodge (Guilford) – Final 3rd
KL2 200m Adam Simmons (Nottingham) – Final 8th
KL3 200m Jonny Young (Nottingham) – Final 9th