Canoe Focus Winter 2017 - Page 56

56 57 >> training twice a week so Thursday and Friday. Just over the next few months until I’ve built my business back up, but my priority will be here and be my training. It doesn’t just have to be on the water though, the training can be in the gym it’s just about prioritising and making sure you set yourself 2-3 hours per day for warm ups, stretching and gym work. INTERVIEW BY REBECCA LOVATT Welcome to the wonderful world of canoeing! How is your va’a training going so far? How have you found your early stages in the sport, would you say it was an easy sport to transition into? J: Really well, I started off doing the K1 and then probably about April I was invited to come down and do a few months training in a new boat, the va’a so it’s gone from there really. When did you become aware of the sport Paracanoe? What inspired you to give paracanoe a go? J: I love training, I love being outside, I love sport and fitness and I’m a personal trainer. I used to do wheelchair basketball and I was part of the TAS scholarship. It was really great to have someone to train and teach me, and I really enjoyed that side of things, so for an opportunity like this to come up I jumped straight on it. Do you remember how you felt the first time you sat in a boat? J: Fantastic, a really good experience. There was a huge buzz on the day and it really was my driving force to all that dedication, all that driving from Bournemouth and training time on the water was understanding that if I do well then I could be invited to the world championships – that was a massive carrot for me. And I did really well, I made qualifying time, I came third, but the top two boats went to Worlds. Everything works for a reason. Next year I’m going to get there. Next year I’m going. What are you hoping to achieve in paracanoe? What’s the ultimate goal? J: The Ultimate long term goal is Tokyo 2020 – I’d love to be able to achieve that. How do you fit your paracanoe training around your more everyday jobs? J: I’m busy over the next couple of months with other jobs, but I’ll try to be here as much as possible, so I’ll be How did Mr England come about? J: So it’s a long story. I started with an agency at 18 that specialised in amputee work. We worked with films to do casualty simulation and war films and horror films where we get injured and ripped apart on screen, which is cool! As part of this agency, we got to perform at the London 2012 Paralympic opening ceremony so I trained with a circus school for a few months and learned to climb ropes and do performances. After that night finished and I’d had a taste of the limelight I was like ‘what’s going to happen next,’ so I joined a modelling agency through a campaign called ‘models of diversity’ - looking for more diverse models within the industry. As part of ‘models of diversity’, I was at the NEC clothes show in Birmingham giving a talk on body confidence and how people should be more body confident. The things I try to promote are fitness and fashion; I believe you get a lot of confidence through these, so I push these. J: That was brilliant – spur of the moment. I applied; they took me for an audition. I got through and I didn’t really think about it. I was actually skiing the day before, I had been away skiing for a whole week, and arrived on the Sunday evening and on the Monday had to go to do filming in Manchester. I had to go up on my own and there was no one there that I knew at the time, and it was great, a really good experience but nerve- wracking too. But I’m glad I did it. The highlight for me though Watch the was getting to meet Rochelle video here (from The Saturdays)! You like to push yourself to the limit, what’s next? J: I’ve got a few things coming up with Mr England, and Mr World next year (location to be released!) I do really want to focus on paracanoe though and put as much time and effort into this as I can. J: Yeah! The va’a is a lot more stable than a K1 with the outrigger on the side but the steering and trying to control the boat was difficult. I’ve just about perfected that J stroke until there’s a massive side wind! You took to the water at the National Regatta in Nottingham, how was that experience in a competitive race? We saw you on Ninja Warrior UK, what was that experience like? J: I’m a mentor for Limb Power and the games at Stoke Mandeville; a few of the guys came down with an ergo and had a bit of a competition there with other amputees so that was how I found out about paracanoe. I’ve always been into water sports and love being outside,I do a lot of open water swimming and used to swim for Somerset Dolphins when I was younger, so swimming’s a big one for me. I also do a lot of waterskiing and wakeboarding so it just ticked all the boxes. J: It’s a tough sport to get into - to feel relaxed or comfortable in the boat, especially when you see the guys flying passed you not wobbling at all. when you first get in the boats, they are unstable, they are wobbly but as long as you’ve got a positive spin on things and can have a laugh if you fall in; don’t get annoyed, then it’s good fun. The coaches make it easier; they have a good laugh at you! At that ev [H\\XYH[[\\H[܈H^\[[ H[[ۙ[]\[YH]H\Z[[[[[HۈH\^H[H]Y][ۈ\ۂY^H[ZX\\8$]\YX[KH[H]Y][ۜ[]\۸&][[[]H\X\YX]]]XX[H\[]]YX[X]\Bx&YXX[H]\X\X]]YܙKH\YœX[\H]HX\]H]ܛH][HK