By Clare Newman
Friday, May 11, 2012
Richard Jefferies in action at the World Championships. Picture by AEPHOTOS.CO.UK.
CANOEING ISLANDER Richard Jefferies is flying out to Poland this weekend — for the chance to qualify for the London Olympics. Richard, 25, a former Sandown High School student who now trains full-time in Nottingham with GB Canoeing, is hoping to qualify in the sprint canoeing event C1 200m.He will be heading for the European qualifying event, which takes place in Poznan on Wednesday, aiming to earn his spot on the GB team. The eight athletes competing in the kayak events — including the likes of Olympic medallist Tim Brabants — are already in the squad but it is the two spots in the sprint canoeing events, over 200m and 1,000m, which are still to be filled.Richard said: “I am feeling really confident of getting in, as my times have really improved.“To think that five years ago I didn’t even know what sprint canoeing was! Just being involved in the selection process for the games is a dream come true really.“I have raced at Eton before but obviously the atmosphere will be a lot different. I went to the World Championships in Hungary last year and there were around 20,000 people watching. It was crazy — normally I only have a few swans watching me!”Richard, who returns to his family home in Bembridge whenever he can, became involved in the sport after qualifying through UK Sport’s Sporting Giants campaign, alongside his twin brother, Ben.The pair were tipped for success in the C2 500m event, as a team. But after the Beijing Olympics, the discipline was dropped, and replaced with the single-person 200m event instead. While Richard, a sprinter, excelled, Ben did not get on with the new distance and has now moved on to other ventures.
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