Jun 27 2008 by Richard Fletcher, Chester Chronicle
AFTER becoming a national champion at only 15, a Chester canoeist is well on the road to international stardom.
David Bain, of Great Boughton, claimed the junior 15 National Junior Slalom Kayak Championship, beating competitors in his age group from across the country at the slalom course in Bedford.
But age is no limit to the Bishops’ High School pupil, as he is the youngest competitor in the elite premier division of slalom kayaking.
David said: “It’s pretty massive. To win the junior 15 puts me in place to get it when I’m 16, which will help coaches understand I’ve got potential for the Olympics. I think I can do it.”
On a tight course of 20 slalom gates, some of which are negotiated upstream, David completed a penalty-free second run to finish first despite some strong winds blowing across the course.
Junior 16 is when a young canoeist’s career really starts, with international championship events at both European and world level.
David is also aiming for the Olympics, either in 2012 or 2016 when he will be closer to the peak age for canoeists. His Olympic ambitions have already started because he is part of the World Class Start programme, which develops young canoeists to international standard.
David said: “I’m the youngest in the premier division – it’s quite hard to keep motivated. There’re older and better people in the division so you can get disheartened. But I haven’t come last and I’m in the top 75% already which has secured my place for the World Class Start in the summer and winter.”
He began the sport after seeing pictures of his parents canoeing. Now under the guidance of coaches Andy Neave (Stafford and Stone Canoe Club) and Neil Buckley (GB junior development coach), David has been working on his flat water work on the canal in Chester, as well as technical training in Staffordshire and at the National Watersports Centre in Nottingham
Proud dad Ken said: “He’s very much a child among men in that division but he’s growing and getting faster.”