GB Freestyle selections for the European Championships
The GB Freestyle selections for the European Championships in Paris 2020 went ahead on the back up date of the 13th October at HPP. The first date of the 29th September saw river levels too high after weeks of heavy rain and concern of pollution levels for paddlers. The back-up date looked uncertain right up to the day of the event but the bonus of all this rain is Hurley weir then opened on 4 gates!!!!
Selections included event 1 on inlet gate during the morning and then onto twin for event 2 in the afternoon. Despite the grey and very wet day; there was lots of support for each other competing. The volunteers running the event did not allow the weather to impact on the day and it all ran very smoothly with the help of a tarpaulin rain shelter to keep their score sheets dry.
The day kicked off with junior women, then junior mens. The C1 competitors were mixed in with these heats which made an interesting watch for the spectators, mixing it up a bit. Senior women and senior men followed. Selections saw the highest number of participants this time which is excellent development for this sport and I hope this continues.I attended the selections in April for Sort under the advice of my coach. I was not old enough at the time to make team and it felt a huge pressure but I was encouraged to get an opportunity to see what selections looked and felt like in preparation for being old enough and ready to seriously compete.
The advice was right as it was really helpful to have experienced the process before this time and have learned means and ways to manage my stress levels better. I set myself a goal to improve on last times placing in which I had previously made squad position. I have now been doing freestyle for just over a year and have got a much better range of tricks compared to my last selections. I was able to improve on my run scoring so much so that this time I made team in first position. I felt disappointed for my sister who was unwell on the day and was not even able to attempt event 2. Although not on the water she was still a great support to me and I love that we share this hobby together.
On hearing the provisional scores, I felt overwhelmed with excitement and pride. I now have a lot of work ahead of me to maintain the progress I have made this year. Let’s hope the rain continues so my local weir Hurley can remain open, allowing for more practice time. I am looking forward to the whole experience of team training, getting to know a wider community of paddlers and the experience of going to Paris and competing. I feel very lucky to have been given this opportunity at such a young age, being 13.
Photo credits to Tom Clare Photography
Written by Jasmine Kinsman