Landlocked Sheffielder guides national team to medals

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Sheffield born GB Canoe Slalom Coach Gareth Wilson - who was born in Sheffield - has tasted success at the Senior European Canoe Slalom Championships at Augsburg, Germany.

Wilson, originally from Greenhill, coached slalom athletes to Gold, Silver and Bronze medals in Team and Individual events, at the 1972 Munich Olympic Course.

Gareth, a former junior international paddler himself, is now the GB Development Coach for the Canadian Singles Women category, C1W, and also coached a Canadian Doubles, C2 crew, on the German trip.

In the C1W Category, Gareth coached Mallory Franklyn to the Silver medal. In the C1W Team race all three athletes, Mallory Franklyn, Kimberley Woods and Alice Spencer, finished in third place and took the Bronze medal. In the C2 Team race, Gareth coached one of the three crews, Adam Burgess and Gregg Pitt. They joined the two London 2012 Olympian crews of David Florence and Richard Hounslow, Etienne Stott and Tim Ballie. Together this team negotiated the course to finish in the Gold medal position.

After the races Wilson said he was proud of his paddlers’ achievements. “In the Canadian Women Singles last year, the first three paddlers were separated by over ten seconds. This year ten seconds covered the first 13 competitors. This shows how well the women have progressed in a relatively short time. These results should encourage our athletes to perform well in the coming London Olympic Games, and hopefully convince the IOC to include the C1W category at Rio in four years time.”

Wilson has now travelled with his athletes to Liptovsky Mikulas in Slovakia for the Tatra International Canoe Slalom Race. He is hoping they all achieve similar success this coming weekend.