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Canoeist is on the Crest of a Wave

15 May 2015  |  Jill Lundberg  |  Posted in:

Richmond School student Daisy Cooil took part in the Junior Team GB selection races staged at the 2012 Olympic course in Lee Valley, London. She paddled so well in three selection races that she qualified for the junior team – only to be ruled out of contention because she was just 13, too young to be considered. Selectors finally chose a 16-year-old friend of Daisy’s who she had beaten in each race.Race rules state that competitors have to be 15 to qualify for Team GB’s junior squad if it is competing abroad. Undeterred Daisy, who has just turned 14, wanted to take part competing against paddlers who were older and in a higher division. “It is frustrating but I still really enjoyed it,” said Daisy, of Aske, near Richmond, who is a member of Tees Tigers and competes in canoeing and kayaking. Sometimes you have to be prepared to jump over a waterfall and the fact I love big water instantly rules out half the competition who don’t. Lee Valley was amazing. The first time I went down I was scared but I really wanted to do it so just went for it – I laughed all the way down.” Daisy has been canoeing for the past two and a half years and was inspired after talking to athletes at the 2012 Olympics. Within weeks of starting at the Tees Barrage her coaches realised she had natural ability and she is now a member of the Northern Super Regional Squad. “You have to be confident in the water and be strong in the arms, shoulders, core and legs,” said Daisy, who has received some financial support from Richmond School Trust for the past two years.“I will get stronger so at the moment I rely on good technique.”  “When they read my name out at Lee Valley as being selected I was just so happy that I jumped up and down. I should be able to try again next year and my dream is to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Games.” Trust chairman Trevor Cook said: “Daisy is an excellent role model and we are delighted to sponsor her. She works so hard at her canoeing and her academic work and we are all very proud of her achievements.”

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