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Olympic target for Alderbury canoeist
7:20am Saturday 12th September 2009 in Other Sport
A KAYAK slalom canoeist from Alderbury has his eyes set on Olympic glory after making a splash with the Olympic Development Programme and bagging a silver medal at this year’s European Under 18s Championships.
Joe Coombs, 18, is originally from Alderbury but now lives in Nottingham, close to the National Watersports Centre where he carries out his training.
The former Leehurst Swan pupil first got started in the sport when he was taken out on the water by his father, and his talent was further nurtured at Salisbury Canoe Club.
Joe started competing when he was 13 and quickly showed that he had a special talent.
“Being out on the water was just something I loved to do,” he said.
“I really enjoyed paddling around but the added edge of competition took it to a whole new level for me.”
Joe has excelled at the various British age groups championships over the years, but the highpoint of his career so far came this year at the European Championships in Slovakia, where he finished 10th in the individual category and second with teammates Thomas Brady and Joe Clarke in the team event.
“Getting a silver medal was a real achievement for us all,” Joe said.
“And there was only a slightly dubious touch call that stopped us from getting the gold.
“It was disappointing not to win, but just missing out has fired us up to go one better next time.”
Joe, who is sponsored by Salisbury-based law firm Trethowans, has the European under 23 championships in Leipzig as his next target, while keeping an eye on the 2012 Olympics.
“I have to keep performing to stay in contention for the senior team,” he explained.
“If I put the effort in over the winter and then perform to the best of my ability next season, there is no reason why I shouldn’t be in the squad.”
Simon Rhodes, manageing partner of Trethowans, said: “Joe is a great example of the young talent that we have in the local Salisbury community.
“Trethowans is very proud to help cover the costs of his training, travel and equipment.
“Joe has had some good successes in recent international events, which puts him in a great position for the upcoming UK competitions.”