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Melksham Canoeist to compete in World Championships

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CANOEIST, Alex Edwards, from Melksham’s Wiltshire Youth Canoe Club, has been selected to compete at the World Championships in June. 

Melksham canoeist Alex Edwards in action.

The freestyle canoeist won both British Team selection events in Nottingham to seal his place in the British team for the World Championships. 

The Wiltshire Youth Canoe Club reports, “Alex competes in the Squirt Boat category of freestyle canoeing, where events take place on white water river features. 

“It’s a fast and technical discipline of canoeing. Each competitor has just a 1 minute ‘ride’ in each round of the competition to score as many points using a designated area on the river.  

“Points are scored by successful performance of moves, the more complex being the highest scoring. Then this is where squirt boating has a unique feature within canoe sport, as competitors can score points for staying completely under the surface of the water, using the flow of the river (and sometimes white water) for as long as they can with each second being counted.  

“It’s a fully three-dimensional sport, using the canoe to twist and turn, to pause vertically or to spin using only body movement rather than the paddle. Plus then these movements can be performed upside-down and at specific angles. There are many variations and possibilities to achieve a points score. 

“Due to Covid there had been no competition for quite some time so recently Alex had the opportunity to compete at the first event, the British Championships. With limited opportunity to travel to White Water for training and the interruptions to the training regime, Alex wasn’t sure what to expect from his performance but approached it in his usual professional way calling on his strong experience of competition.  

“It was a great opportunity to be paddling on the white water in Nottingham where many of the others train regularly. Alex finished in 3rd place. 

“The team selection event was held at the same venue, River Trent, on the artificial white-water course at the National Watersports Centre in Nottingham. There are a maximum of three athlete places available in each category for each country at the World Championships so only three paddlers get the opportunity to compete at the event. So getting selected for one of these three places is the first step towards the opportunity of competing on the World stage. 

“Alex is not unfamiliar with this process. In fact it was in Nottingham back in 2013 when he first gained selection for the British Team and his first opportunity to compete in Squirt Boat at the 2013 Freestyle World Championships held in Nantahala, North Carolina USA and he has made the team every year since! 

“The World Championships in 2022 will take place on the River Trent in Nottingham, starting 27th June. Alex has plenty of training to do to prepare so keep a look out for him training on the river here in Melksham, at the Wiltshire Youth Canoe Club.” 


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