Now entering the second year of the British Canoe Union’s 2012 Academy, Lottery funding has enabled the best British young talent to come to Holme Pierrepont in Nottingham to train alongside Athens Olympic medallists and the current senior team. The young athletes aged between 16 – 18 years old are housed by local ‘host families’ and are supported by a network of specialists working within the GB Canoeing set up.
So how have the athletes been progressing?
Entrants in 2006/7 have now graduated into senior ranks and the academy has allowed the athletes to make a big ‘step up’ as GB bid for Gold in London.
There have certainly been very promising performances. Greg Pitt won a Silver medal at the Junior European Championships in the Men’s C1 (canoe single) class. It was a memorable performance, where Greg transformed his raw talent into race delivery. Despite a problematic semi final run with two unfortunate penalties he managed to cruise from 6th position to Silver in the final, missing out on Gold by less than a second despite having 4 seconds of penalties in the semi final. The other athletes have all represented Great Britain and have made solid progress in their final years as juniors, having hugely benefited from the academy programme.
The 2007/8 Academy is now underway seeing athletes aged 16 years of age, embarking on two years of further education, combining training with academic study.
All have already represented Great Britain at Junior level including Tom Brady who competed in the 2007 Junior European Championship Team at the age of 15.
Andy Maddock, the Nottingham Academy Manager said about the first year of success;
“What a huge opportunity this has been to support our best emerging talent and fast track them two years earlier than has traditionally been possible. After the first year we have a Silver medal from Greg Pitt at the European Championships and all four of the athletes are making huge steps to become the public figureheads of our sport in years to come. 2012 provides the British Canoe Union with a huge opportunity and is well on track to produce athletes capable of delivering medals in London 2012 and beyond.”
The athletes receive world class access to support services such as technical whitewater coaching, strength and conditioning coaching, physiotherapy, medical support and much, much more to present them with the best chance of progressing towards Olympic contention in 2012.
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