Best junior newcomers pick up Peak UK award

Posted By: Adam Published: 13/01/2020

For several years now we have sponsored the Highest Ranked Junior Newcomer (Div 1) award for UK Canoe Slalom. It is a great way to support up and coming young paddlers who are emerging onto the canoe slalom scene, with each recipient getting a £200 voucher to spend with us.

This year our congratulations go to Gwion Williams (Llandysul) and Arina Kontchakov (Meridian) who were both recently presented with their awards. Well done to both paddlers and we look forward to watching your progress through 2020 and beyond!

You can read a little more about each paddler below.

Etienne Chappell presents Gwion with his award

Gwion Wiliams

Gwion loves kayaking both slalom and recreational white water paddling. His paddling career begun in May 2016, age 9 paddling for Llandydul paddlers, with his first division 3 race, having gained promotion from division 4 in the previous month. He was promoted to division 2 in June of the following year. He was ranked 23rd in division 2 at the close of the 2018 season. This past season Gwion was soon promoted to division 1 in May 2019 having had three first places and a second. Gwion has relished the opportunity for both racing and training on the bigger white water that division 1 presents, and he has ended the 2019 season ranked 45th in division 1, the highest ranked newcomer. This is a great achievement along with being both the British J12 K1men champion and the Welsh J12 and J13 K1men champion. Gwion absolutely loves paddling and is very determined to continue slalom aiming for the very top of the sport! We would like to thank everyone at Peak for this very generous award it will be great for Gwion to be able to buy some much needed kit. Thank you again.

Mark Ratcliffe presenting Arina with her award

Arina Kontchakov

Arina started paddling four years ago, when she turned 8 and joined Meridian Canoe Club. She enjoyed playing canoe polo, where she mastered her hand roll, as well as running easy white-water rivers and marathon racing. Then, two years ago she tried slalom at Harefield and was promoted to Division 3 in the first race. Around the same time, she started paddling at Lee Valley with coaches from LVWWC, where she learnt basics of playboating. Last year, following promotion to Division 2 in the last race of the slalom season, she started her slalom training with the British Canoeing RTA programme. After an intensive winter, she got promoted to Division 1 in the first 8 races and then climbed in the ranks to finish the year in the 9th position. Arina says that training camps in the south of France, Wales, Scotland and at HPP played a crucial role in her success.