By Steven Oldham, Sports Correspondent
In the latest of our regular series previewing the sports to be showcased at the Olympics next year, we take to the water and look at the canoe sprint.
Changes for London 2012 see the 500m distance replaced by the 200m dash, with the men’s 1,000m distance keeping up its 100% appearance record since canoeing and kayaking made their first appearance at the Summer Games.
Newcomers to the sport may be confused by the numbers and letters that separate the disciplines. For example, K-2 1000m. ‘K’ stands for kayak (as opposed to ‘C’ for canoe), 2 (two kayakers, which can be interchanged for 1 and 4) followed by the distance.
For the ladies, a smaller programme sees them take on the 200m and 500m distance in singles, doubles and in teams of four in kayaks.
Ed McKeever won the K1 200m event at last year’s World Championships in Poland, and although he lost the title this year, still came second. He is considered to be one of Team GB’s best hopes of a medal in the sport next year.
He said: “Canoeing is good fun. It’s a great sport to do in the summer.”’
Ed also said, if you’re talented enough, canoeing can take you to far-flung places.
“You can go all over the world and meet lots of new people – it beats sitting at a desk any day,” he said.
He expects the exposure the sport will gain next year will see a boost in popularity for it, so why not beat the rush and have a try now?
Check your local listings for those clubs on your doorstep but we’ve given you a few options below to set you off paddling.
Manchester Canoe Club (www.manchestercanoecluborg.uk) offer monthly introduction sessions for new paddlers at their base on the River Goyt in Stockport.
Debdale Outdoor Centre, owned by Manchester City Council, offer the chance to achieve your first BCU Star 1 award – suitable for the complete beginner, see link (http://www.manchester.gov.uk/info/1081/outdoor_activity_centres/1808/debdale_outdoor_centre/7 )
Manchester University Canoe Club (http://www.canoe.manchester.ac.uk/index) welcomes non-students, and train at the Aquatics Centre and Moss Side Leisure Centre. They offer weekend trips suitable for complete beginners early in term so now is the time to go along.