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Nottingham paddlers edge closer to Olympic selection

University of Nottingham sprint-canoeist, Charlie Smith paddled his way to a K1 1000m victory at the weekend and edged himself ever closer to selection for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

 The win, with a time of 3:42.77  secures a spot at May’s ICF European selection event in Szeged, Hungary, where a place at the Games will be on the line. 

Last weekend was the first opportunity for many of Nottingham’s paddlers to get back onto a start line after 18 months without competition and it happened to be the most important domestic regatta so far with the winners earning the right to go to Olympic Qualification events.

For Charlie Smith, heading into the regatta, the Olympics was the last thing on his mind. Speaking to UoN Sport he said:

“I had hoped to finish in the top 3 in preparation for the U23 competitions later in the year.”

“It’s been so long since we’ve raced it was hard to know exactly where anyone was at, but I knew I had had a solid 18 months of training and relished the opportunity to really test where I was at and see any progress I’d made over the lockdowns.”

Charlie Smith celebrates his K1 victory at the National Watersports Centre - Holme Pierrepont

"The regatta weekend went really well, and we were fortunate enough to have some rare, flat conditions. The K1 1000 was the first event of the weekend; and the heat was a welcomed opportunity to get back into the start buckets and blow some cobwebs away. Although I qualified 2nd fastest, I had no doubt it would be a tough race."

"In the final I had a strong start and went side by side with Tom Lusty, the favourite and 1000m winner for the last 3 years. Coming into the last 200 metres he pulled away slightly, but in the last 100m I managed to just edge past him and ended up taking the win."

The success over the weekend didn’t stop there. Sunday saw the K2 1000 selection event where Smith was joined by fellow UoN student, Luke Shaw.

Despite a late decision to race together, the Nottingham pairing were very pleased to come away with the win after a tactical race and a strong finish.

The results of the weekend mean Smith has been selected to race in the remaining Olympic qualification events in Szeged, Hungary and Barnaul, Russia in May. With just 3 seats up for grabs over the two competitions the Nottingham student will be giving it his all to claim a spot at the Tokyo Olympics in August and we wish him and his fellow UoN paddlers the very best of luck.

There were successes for elsewhere, including both current and former students  in what was a brilliant event for Nottingham’s paddlers at Holme Pierrepoint. 

Full Result: British Canoe Sprint and Paracanoe Selection event – (Nottingham)

Day 1 results 

K1 Men Open 1000
Charlie Smith - 1st
Phillip Miles - 5th 

C1 women 200 - Straight Final
Beth Gill - 4th 

K1 women 200 - Straight Final
Emma Russell - 4th 
Zoe Clarke - 5th 

K2 Men 500 - Straight Final
Trevor Thomson (and Dan Atkins) 1st 
Ieaun James and Phil Miles - 2nd

Day 2 results 

K2 Men 1000 - Straight Final
Charlie Smith (and L. Shaw) - 1st 

K1 Women 500
Heats - Zoe Clarke  4th and Emma Russel - 2nd 
Finals - Emma Russel - 2nd 

K1 Men 200 
Heats - Trevor Thompson - 2nd 
Finals - Trevor Thomson - 6th

K2 women 500 - Straight Finals 
Zoe Clarke and Enya Dale - 3rd

Based at the National Watersports Centre at Holme Pierrepont, University of Nottingham has produced a rich history of outstanding Canoeists including:

  • Campbell Walsh: Olympic silver medallist (K1 - Athens 2004), 3 x World Championship medallist (2206, 2007, 2009)
  • Tim Brabants MBE: 3 x Olympic medallist (Gold K1 1000m, Bronze K1 500m - Beijing 2008, Bronze - K1 1000m - Sydney 2000)
  • Tim Baillie MBE: Olympic gold medallist (C2 - London 2012), 2 x World Championship medallist (C2: 2009, 2011)
  • Etienne Stott MBE: Olympic gold medallist (C2 - London 2012), 3 x World Championship medallist (C2: 2009, 2011, 2015)
  • David Florence: 3 x World Champion (C1 - 2013, 2015; C2: 2013) and 3 x Olympic silver medallist (C1 - Beijing 2008, C2 - London 2012, C2 - Rio 2016)

For more information on Performance Canoe at University of Nottingham please click here.

Posted on Monday 26th April 2021

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