Lee Valley Devils – nine young women, who took up white water rafting at Lee Valley White Water Centre following the London 2012 Olympics, have been selected to represent Great Britain and are now heading for Slovakia in July and Argentina in November to take part in the European and World Rafting Championships.
All of the team members, who make up the GB1 and GB2 U19W squads, are members of Lee Valley Paddlesports Club, based at Lee Valley White Water Centre. They started training eagerly last year to be selected and to be given the opportunity to take part in these prestigious IRF competitions.
Six members of the team competed at the 2017 IRF World Rafting Championships in Japan where they were proud to come home with a Bronze medal in the Head to Head race category. For this year’s events the team kindly received funding towards their costs from the Hertfordshire Educational Foundation and the Rotary Club of Hoddesdon.
The Lee Valley Devils, who come from Waltham Abbey, Wormley, Broxbourne, Romford, Southend and Tring, all train on average twice a week at Lee Valley White Water Centre in Waltham Cross and are busy getting fit and perfecting their paddling techniques under the firm guidance of their coach Phil Pidgeon. Aged between 15 and 18, the team are aiming high for the European Championships this summer, before heading to Neuquén, Argentina.
“To be selected two years in a row is just amazing,” explained one of the team – Jenni Painter (18) from Waltham Abbey. “I first started rafting just over two years ago and competed in Japan in October last year. I definitely got bitten by the bug once I started rafting and look forward to the challenge of competing against the best teams in Europe and the world. We’ll all be training hard to try and improve on our previous medal tally.”
Lee Valley White Water Centre has British Canoeing’s High Performance Centre located at the venue and is the base for the British Canoe Slalom squad and all UK Sport funded Podium athletes. Lee Valley White Water Centre is the first London 2012 legacy venue to gain this High Performance Centre status and the Slalom Squad’s team GB regularly train there.