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Emma making waves in world of freestyle kayak
7:30pm Tuesday 8th October 2013 in Sport
WEST Malvern teenager Emma Witherford secured second spot at the British Freestyle Kayaking Championships in Nottingham.
The 16-year-old Dyson Perrins Academy pupil beat top Great Britain paddler Jen McGaley in the junior women’s K1 event and only lost out to world bronze medallist Kim Aldred.
Witherford, who managed a total score of 180, will attend GB selection trials in November in a bid to be in the European Championships team for next summer in Slovakia.
In April, she gained a reserve place for the junior women at a GB trials behind Aldred and McGaley.
As a result, Witherford could have gone to August’s world championships in Nantahala, USA, but was not guaranteed a competition place so the cost of the trip stopped her from attending.
The teenager has enjoyed an impressive season in the Youth Freestyle Series back home, competing in all five events at Bala, Northampton, Thames Weirs, Lee Valley and Nottingham and finishing second in four of them.
Witherford was also second at the Lee Valley freestyle competition in Hertfordshire.
In just over a year, she has gone from being a complete novice freestyler to one of the top three paddlers in the country in her age group.
Coaches put Witherford’s rapid rise down to her selfdiscipline, focus and determination.
She has been a member of Pershore-based Wychavon Kayak and Canoe Club, where her mother Liz is secretary, for around five years and is now the junior representative.
The dedicated teenager regularly paddles and helps with the coaching and organising of activities for juniors in pool and river sessions.
Witherford attended four GB training weekends in Nottingham as well as other coaching sessions locally and at Thames Weirs.
She trains at Dyson Perrins Academy gym and at Malvern Splash Leisure Complex and has been selected to represent Girlguiding Midlands on a canoeing trip to the Czech Republic next summer.
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