The key to success in Canoe Slalom is being able to weave through a series of gates in rushing water as swiftly as possible.
A sport of literally negotiating obstacles, Finn Anderson from Tauranga Boys’ College not only fights vigorously on the water, but out of his boat to. This year alone Anderson’s travels have cost him more than $7,000.
“I do a lot of fundraising like quiz nights and sausage sizzles to get to events. At the Youth Olympics the rules prevent you from showing a sponsor so I didn’t have one,” Anderson reveals.
Despite a lack of support Anderson went to Barcelona where he qualified for the Youth Olympics in Argentina where he won a silver medal in the C1 category earlier this month.
“I was pretty surprised to do as well as I did. The course was different to what I was used to. In New Zealand it’s uncommon to have the gates marked with buoys. The water flow was also different,” Anderson explained.
There were four races at the Olympics with the field shrinking the further the competition advanced. Anderson remained a contender by getting through his qualification heat and quarter-final. In the semi-final he achieved his quickest time over the 420-metre course finishing in 1:20:570 before achieving a time of 1:23:260 in the final.
The gold medal was won by Terence Benjamin Saramandif from Mauritius.
“Terence trains with a coach in France. He was pretty consistent. I would like to think I could beat him, but he was the better paddler,” Anderson concedes.
Anderson comes from a family of paddlers with his father coaching at Te Puke High School. Training on the Tauranga River, Anderson also travels as often as twice a week to Rotorua practice. Anderson believes his competitive breakthrough was at Tauranga Boys’ College where he made the New Zealand Development Squad and where Kayaking is a seriously successful code.
In March, Tauranga Boys’ College won the top Schools Kayaking trophy for a record 19th time at the Nationals in Wanaka.
Tauranga won the U14, U16 and U18 3-boat K1 events in a dominant display which eventually earned nine selections in the New Zealand Development Squad. The boys selected were: Sean Washer, Hugh Canham, Taylor Harris, Lachie Aitken, Dane O’Reilly, Jared Williams, Ben Pilbrow, Ryan Keading and Anderson.
Oliver Puchner also attended the Youth Olympics while Damian Torwick and Charlie Bell competed at the World U23 championships in Italy.
The next goal for Anderson is to earn selection for the New Zealand team who will tour Poland for the World Championships.
Anderson’s other interests include Maths, Science, hockey and other water sports like swimming and waterpolo.
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