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Frome kayaker is West Country’s youngest to reach Premier Division

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Frome Canoe Club’s Jacob  Lines, 14, has become the youngest paddler in the West Country to reach canoe slalom’s Premier Division.  

Jacob has been paddling with the club since he was 8 years old, but started competing in canoe slalom three years ago.  Since then, he has climbed the divisions rapidly, training and competing nationally, and has become the first person at Frome Canoe Club to achieve promotion to the Premier Division.

Jacob achieved his milestone at a recent race in Llandysul, Wales, where he achieved a 4th place on the first day of racing and his first division 1 win on Sunday, accruing enough points to earn him promotion.  

British Canoeing coach Zak Franklin said, “I’m very pleased for Jacob.  He really deserves this promotion.” Fellow paddlers at Frome Canoe Club, Aimee Collins and Finn Johnson, also achieved personal best results at the same event.

Frome Canoe Club says, “Canoe slalom is a highly competitive, international sport which is gaining in popularity and success.  Competitors race down a course, usually on white water, navigating their boat through a series of hanging poles or ‘gates’.  Penalties are given for touching a gate (2 seconds added) or missing / incorrectly navigating a gate (50 seconds added), and the winner is the paddler who completes the course in the faster time including their penalties.  Each paddler has two runs ,but only the fastest run including penalties is counted.

“Great Britain has seen significant success in the Olympic Games since 2012, and the World Championships, winning several gold and silver medals, and British Canoeing is investing heavily in maintaining this success.  

“After being noticed for his race results, Jacob was invited to join British Canoeing’s Regional Talent Academy in 2017, before being elevated to their Super Regional Squad for the 2018/19 season.  Aimee Collins and Finn and Otto Johnson from Frome Canoe Club are also members of the RTA squad.  

“Jacob is driven by his long-term goal to represent Great Britain in the sport at the Olympic Games.  

“I know it’s going to be tough” he said, “but I believe in myself to keep getting the good results and I’m putting a lot of hard work to get them.  I train twice a week with Frome Canoe Club, as well as training sessions at the National Water Sports Centre in Nottingham and the Olympic Course at Lee Valley.  

“I also put in time at gym sessions and one-to-one strength and conditioning coaching with Hatt Health and Movement Clinic, who have really helped me with sponsorship in terms of training and physiotherapy services.  I want to thank them, as well as all my coaches at Frome Canoe Club and British Canoeing for all the help and support they give me, and my family who give up a lot to allow me to train and race.”  

Frome Canoe Club continue, “Jacob will be training hard all winter with a view to really pushing on with results and his national ranking when racing starts again in March.  He’s currently ranked 5th in the GB rankings for his age group.  

“Jacob receives support from the Frome Lions, but is currently seeking sponsors to support him with the purchase of expensive equipment to allow him to pursue his Olympic dream.  For further information or to support Jacob, please visit his fundraising page at www.gofundme.com/f/funding-a-future-olympian .  

“As for Frome Canoe Club, the slalom section has gone from strength to strength under coaches Chris Wilde and John Kent.  The club provides coaching from age 8 upwards and welcomes children and adults alike, whether to compete in slalom, play canoe polo or just enjoy paddling on the rivers of the West Country.  For the winter season, sessions have moved indoors to the Frome Leisure Centre pool from 8-9pm Friday evenings.  New visitors are welcome.”

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