Ca­noe slalom world champs beck­ons


Ca­noe slalom racer An­nie War­dle isn’t wor­ried so much about tack­ling the tough­est course in Europe, but rather the ru­mour of snakes in the wa­ter.

The Alexan­dra 16-year-old is one of the best white wa­ter rac­ers in the coun­try and she will com­pete at the In­ter­na­tional Ca­noe Fed­er­a­tion Un­der-18 Ju­nior World Cham­pi­onships in Bratislava, Slo­vakia in July.

There’s a ‘‘large drop’’ at the end of the course but she’s hop­ing the snake ru­mour means she won’t fall out and per­forms well at the event.

‘‘It’s pretty ex­cit­ing but then it is known to be the hard­est course in Europe,’’ War­dle said.

‘‘I’m aware that the com­pe­ti­tion will be pretty tough.

‘‘Hope­fully I can pro­duce a run that I’m happy with.’’

It’s the first time she’s made the K1 event at the world champs and she’s ‘‘stoked’’.

‘‘It’s been a dream of mine for a few years now.’’

War­dle started ca­noe slalom four years ago un­der the guid­ance of Cen­tral Otago White Wa­ter Club pres­i­dent Gor­don Rayner.

The Dun­stan High School pupil now has a full-on six-daya-week train­ing sched­ule.

Part of that train­ing was done in her mother Kate and fa­ther Rob’s still-wa­ter ir­ri­ga­tion dam at Gal­loway.

She used the dam for sprint, agility and strength train­ing.

War­dle also trained at the Roar­ing Meg, a grade three rapid 10 min­utes out­side Cromwell.

‘‘At times it can be a bit nerver­ack­ing but it’s good fun.

‘‘[It] is good for keep­ing up with the white wa­ter.’’

War­dle has plans to con­tinue the sport.

‘‘I hope to make the un­der-18 team again and the event will be in Italy, then go on to make the un­der-23 team and see where it takes me.’’

Only three un­der-18 ca­noe slalom rac­ers were se­lected.

The other two are from Napier and Tau­ranga.

How­ever, War­dle won’t be the only Cen­tral Otago ath­lete at the event, with Alexan­dra’s Finn Butcher and Clyde’s Kensa Ran­dle both in the un­der-23 cat­e­gory at the world champs.

Be­ing named in the team is just half the bat­tle.

Fundrais­ing is un­der­way to get War­dle to Slo­vakia.

She has a crowd-fund­ing page to help with ex­penses which can be found at iS­


Ca­noe slalom racer An­nie War­dle, 16, of Alexan­dra, is head­ing to the ju­nior world cham­pi­onships in Slo­vakia in July.

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