Olympic Hopefuls Head for Slovakia
Following intensive training at the National Water Sports Centre in Nottingham, both Nico and Tony Kirschstein Smith were selected to represent Britain in the GB Kayaking Squad of twelve at the Olympic Hopes 2010 in Piestany, Slovakia in September. They competed in the Under 17s and Under 16s respectively against thirteen other nations.
Tony began the Kirschstein Smith Kayak Craze aged 12, and was soon joined by both his brothers, Nico and Sam, aged 10 at the time. The three of them train up to fourteen training sessions a week with the Reading Canoe Club, before and after school, for both Sprint and Marathon competitions.
Together they are a formidable force winning six medals at the British Canoe Union (BCU) National Marathon Championships in early August; Silver and Gold Medals for Sam in the U14 category in K2 and K1 as well as Silver in the U16 category where he competed with his brother, Tony in a K2. Nico excelled in the K2 marathon with Gold and Silver in the K1 under 18s.
At the beginning of September, they competed in the BCU National Sprint Racing Championships and did even better, despite the adverse condition of the course. Sam came home with three Gold Medals for his 500m and 1000m sprints in K2 and 1000m K4, a Silver in his 500m K4 and a Bronze in the 1000m K1; Tony gained a Gold in the 500m K4 and Silver Medals in the 500m and 1000m K2 sprints; Nico drew the short straw and had to contend with a weed choked lane but still managed Bronze medals in the 500m K2 and 1000m K4.
‘The Olympics 2016 is my dream which I’m hoping I’ll achieve,’ explained Nico.