Charlie impresses on the world stage

Charlie Smith
Charlie Smith

Charlie Smith from Leighton Buzzard Canoe Club proudly took his place in the GB Under 18 Squad to compete in the ICF Junior and Under 23 Canoe Sprint World Championships last week.

The purpose built Regatta Course in Zaslavl is situated 15km from Minsk, in Belarus, and was originally constructed as a training facility for the Olympic rowing back in 2006, it was redeveloped in 2011 as a multidiscipline venue suitable to host international events.

The competition was spread over four days and saw 255 races over distances of 200m, 500m and 1000m, in single K1s, double K2s, K4s and the same in canoes.

Conditions were good with dry bright weather and little headwind.

Charlie was one of 20 GB paddlers selected to make the trip and join over 1200 competitors from 62 countries.

The LBCC youngster was selected to race K2 with his partner Ieuan James from Forth Canoe Club over 1000m.

He was also selected to compete in the K4 competition over 1000m with three other team mates.

Charlie and Ieuan raced the heats confidently and fought hard in the semi’s to qualify for Final A.

Coming up against the best juniors in the world the pair were pleased to finish in ninth place.

This was a great achievement for their first international competition together as partners.

In the K4 Charlie had the back seat in a crew boat that had never paddled a competition before.

The boys were able to race conservatively in the heats and still make it to a final, however a tough draw in the semi’s saw the crew narrowly miss a place in the A final.

Greatly disappointed, the boys responded with amazing determination and raced the B final with passion, winning in the last 100m with a planned tactical blast to the finish line giving them a 10th place world ranking.