A YOUNG kayaker has been inspired to chase her Olympic dream.
Lottie Cooper, 15, from Cilcain, is a member of the national squad and ranked number one in Wales in the junior 16 age group.
She is now training hard after watching Team GB’s success at London 2012.
Lottie has excelled in the K1 kayak slalom event, which involves weaving in and out of poles through a whitewater course in the fastest time possible.
Despite her young years, she is ranked 35th in Britain in the adult ladies category.
“I enjoy the competitive side and the adrenalin rush you get from paddling on the whitewater,” she explained.
Lottie won a chance to paddle alongside the Team GB Olympic kayakers in a demonstration during the torch relay.
She said: “The Olympics were amazing.
“I think it’s every athlete’s dream to compete in the Olympics and I don’t think anything could compare to winning a medal.
“Everything you do as an athlete is working towards that goal.”
Lottie’s passion takes her all over the world and she has competed in countless competitions in the UK and overseas.
Despite studying for her GCSEs, the Mold Alun High School pupil manages to balance study with a high-intensity training regime including cross country training, strength and conditioning work as well as gruelling gym sessions and training on rapids to develop muscle memory.
She also attends classroom theory sessions to develop mental strength, learn about the right nutrition and how to maintain a balanced lifestyle.
Luckily she has the backing of a supportive family, her dad Jed, mum Tracey and little brother Nathan who at just seven years old is also a keen kayaker.
Jed said: “We’re incredibly proud of Lottie, with school and her kayaking.
“She’s a real inspiration to young children who she coaches at Castle Canoe Club and I hope other teenagers will see through her that there’s plenty of things to do and sports to try.
“For an adult to do what she’s doing would be difficult, never mind a 15-year-old.”
Lottie’s next step is to try out for the Junior GB team in March and she is looking for sponsorship to help contribute to the expense of enjoying her sport.
According to her dad, equipment and travel can cost between £7,000 and £8,000 a year.
To sponsor Lottie as an
individual or business, email firstname.lastname@example.org