Hutt kayaker earns NZ selection early
A Hutt Valley kayaker says her years of hard work are starting to pay off, after making the New Zealand Under 23 Kayak K4 sprint team at only 17 years old.
Gemma Woolcock will race against the world’s best in the Under 23 Canoe Sprint World Championships, July 28-31 in Minsk, Belarus.
‘‘I’m really surprised and happy, I didn’t expect to make it,’’ the Sacred Heart College student said.
‘‘I’ve never been anywhere outside of New Zealand besides Australia so this is going to be a completely new, amazing experience for me.’’
Gemma’s current training consists of six sessions out on the water every week, as well as running and going to the gym.
It’s hard to fit it all in. ‘‘I live and go to school in the Hutt and train in Porirua for kayaking and Wellington for the gym [but] I manage it with extra early morning wake ups.’’
Before Gemma and the under 23 Women’s K4 team head to the world champs in Belarus they’ll train on Lake Karapiro, then in Slovenia for three weeks.
Kayaking is ‘‘huge’’ in Belarus and the challenge ahead is tough but Gemma said she was training with a great bunch and they had become friends.
‘‘We all understand each other and can support and push each other along. We’ll keep each other motivated during training and competitions.’’
Gemma got into kayaking a few years ago to help train for surf ski events at the Titahi Bay Surf Life Saving Club.
Since then, she’s been training and competing with the Mana Kayak Racing Club in Porirua.
Her goal is to continue to improving her kayaking and to working through the programmes New Zealand has to offer.
‘‘I hope that I can keep making the New Zealand team again after this year and the ultimate dream would be to one day make it to the Olympics.
‘‘That would be absolutely amazing.’’
Early morning training sessions on the water in Porirua have paid off for kayaker Gemma Woolcock.