Dylan (U17), Areg (U16), Owen (U16) and Fabio (U15) represented us at this year Olympic Hopes in Bratislava. This year the Olympic Hopes was more competitive than ever with 40 Countries, 800 participants (2 boats/nation were allowed to enter) We had people from all the big canoe nations from Europe, and all over the World from Canada, Brazil, Japan, USA, Argentine…etc Some events had 6 heats as the crowded entries.
Team GB (inc Scottish perf squad) achieved 7 A finals and 13 B finals. Our kids achieved 3 A finals and 3 B finals of the overall results.
Dylan (U17) was the most successful one who achieved 2 A finals in K-1 500 m (8th) , K-2 200 m (6th) and 1 B final 3rd in K-2 500 m (12th)
Dylan was the 2nd successful athlete in the whole team GB, with 2 Final A, and only one of the two who made Final A in K-1. K-1 500 m U17 was the most competitive event of the regatta with 6 heats and 3 semi.
Dylan is good at giving me heart attack, he was sitting in the 7th place in his semi on 300 m and finally he managed to get to the 2nd place and made Final A which i still don’t understand how he did that. By the K-1 500 Final , he was a bit knackered as doubling up on K-2 on the day and did his 6th 500 m on the day also the wind picked up for his final, which was not on his favour. He still got an 8th place (almost 7th). I would have signed a Top 12 place straight away in the K-1 500 m. But as a coach , we always got hungrier when we see more food on the plate 😎
Areg/Owen (U16)- They only competed in C-2 s , as that was the best way for creating results and performance. Doubling up would have cost Finals. Areg /Owen C-2 was the biggest surprise of the weekend. for me. Last year, they were racing at OH but they were just participants, hardly beating some weak canoe nations like Japan, Singapore, Latvia ..etc This year, they were racing on the same level as the biggest canoe nations like Hungary, Germany, Poland, Italy, France..etc They made 3 Finals , 1 Final A (8th) on C-2 1000 and 2 Final B on C-2 500 (13th) and C-2 200 (13th). One of the best moments of the weekend, where they were leading their 1000 and 500 semis in front of the Hungarians, German and Polish boats till the last 150, i didn’t believe what i was witnessing. Unfortunately (or fortunately) they only managed to make the Final A on one of the distance. A lot to learn on this stage to get medals on the World level but we are definitely on the right direction.
We were told, the canoe boys just got selected as the low numbers in the UK and only we do it. I think we got the doubters quiet now 😎
Fabio (U15)- didn’t embarrass RCC and the Gohar name either and considering he was injured 1 month before the competition and his main sport is swimming, he was doing great and fought bravely against the double size boys as him. He was entering in 3 C-1 events and made 2 semi final out of the 3. For him, it was about more experience. He was doing similar as Areg and Owen last year at the Olympic Hopes Let’s see if he is keen to pursue Owen and Areg success in U16.
Overall, it was the 2nd best Olympic Hopes of the RCC team, very close to the 2018 one where we had 1 medal, 3 A finals, 5 Top 10 places (Andreas, Yun, Melody) and i was blessed to be present to witness all those kids success at firsthand in the past and present.
It was a great finale to end the 2022 sprint season.
Bring on the 2023 Season! 👊👊👊
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