Western Suburbs Weekly - - Front Page - Jes­sica Nico

IT is an im­pres­sive feat to make the Aus­tralian team in any sport, but to do so along­side a close friend is some­thing ex­tra spe­cial.

Sev­en­teen-year-olds Kira Wall and Louis Richardson were al­ready good friends when they joined the Swan Ca­noe Club to­gether in 2009, but the pair have man­aged to grow even closer after they were named in the 2017 Aus­tralian Ju­nior Ca­noe Slalom team.

Kira, of White Gum Valley, com­petes in both kayak and ca­noe and al­ready has more than 70 medals and tro­phies un­der her belt, including a 2017 un­der-18 Aus­tralian na­tional K1 cham­pi­onship ti­tle and a third-place fin­ish in the 2017 Ocea­nia Cham­pi­onships in the ju­nior C1 race.

She also has plenty of in­ter­na­tional ex­pe­ri­ence, com­pet­ing at the Ju­nior World Cham­pi­onships in Poland last year, and is well into her prepa­ra­tion for this year’s com­pe­ti­tion in Slo­vakia next month.

“As soon as I started pad­dling white­wa­ter, there was no go­ing back,” she said.

“It’s ad­dic­tive, the rush of surfing waves and the rush of rac­ing against the clock.

“But re­ally I think what I love most is the peo­ple you meet and the places it takes you.

“Ev­ery­one re­mem­bers their first tour – mine was New Zealand in 2014 and it was such a great trip.

“Since then, kayak­ing has taken me to Europe, New Zealand again and Syd­ney, Mel­bourne and Tas­ma­nia mul­ti­ple times, all along the way meet­ing great peo­ple.”

South Fremantle res­i­dent Louis, who fo­cuses on kayak­ing, has also had some suc­cess early in his ca­reer, including be­ing the sec­ond-placed ju­nior in the 2017 ICF In­ter­na­tional Aus­tralian Open K1 race.

After a strong show­ing at last year’s Ju­nior World Cham­pi­onships, he said he was look­ing to im­prove his technique for this year’s com­pe­ti­tion.

“It is a mix­ture of phys­i­cal and tech­ni­cal abil­ity which makes it chal­leng­ing, but also very re­ward­ing,” he said.

The pair have been nom­i­nated for the Com­mu­nity News­pa­per Group’s Lo­cal Sports Stars award for their ded­i­ca­tion and suc­cess in the sport they love.

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie d468996

Louis Richardson and Kira Wall.

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