Pad­dler called up to rep­re­sent GB at cham­pi­onships

Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - by Matt Lewis matt.lewis@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

HARE­FIELD Sharks pad­dler Grant Un­der­wood was an ex­cited man this week as he re­flected on an in­ter­na­tional call-up he thought had passed him by.

Un­der­wood has been se­lected to rep­re­sent Great Bri­tain at the U23 World Wild Wa­ter Rac­ing Cham­pi­onships in Amer­ica later this year, news which means his sport­ing world has turned full cir­cle.

Wind back to 2014 and the 21year-old had missed the se­lec­tion race for GB af­ter sus­tain­ing se­ri­ous in­juries which kept him from rac­ing for a whole year. He was still on crutches last De­cem­ber and though still not fully re­cov­ered his hard work in train­ing has now earned him a place on the plane to North Carolina in early Au­gust.

Un­der­wood ad­mits he was not sure such a chance would come his way again and he thanked Sharks’ head coach, for­mer Pol­ish Cham­pion Beata Fabin­ska, and oth­ers for help­ing re-ig­nite his dream.

He said: “This is so great. Af­ter last year, I feared that it was all over, but now I am off to Amer­ica to rep­re­sent Great Bri­tain.

“Ob­vi­ously there are a num­ber of peo­ple I need to thank for help­ing me get there. My fam­ily have been very sup­port­ive and Beata is bril­liant and has re­ally helped im­prove my style and fit­ness.

“She is a ded­i­cated per­son who has been at the top her­self and un­der­stands what is re­quired.

“The club and its mem­bers have been a great source of en­cour­age­ment and now there are a num­ber of mem­bers to watch out for over the next few years.

“The Sharks is a very ex­cit­ing place to be right now.

“They have got ev­ery­thing in place to be­come one of Bri­tain’s top clubs and I am just so pleased to be part of it and to get this op­por­tu­nity.”

Fabin­ska, who has trans­formed the club on and off the wa­ter since her ar­rival in March be­lieves that while se­lec­tion is the re­al­i­sa­tion of a dream for Un­der­wood it is merely the start of a jour­ney in the sport with huge po­ten­tial.

She said: “Grant works re­ally hard and is an in­spi­ra­tion to the up and com­ing young­sters. This is just the be­gin­ning!”


n CALL UP: Grant Un­der­wood

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