Gold Medals for Peppard Teenager Sam
Sam Kirschstein-Smith featured on the front page of the Autumn edition of Peppard News paddling the kayak which carried the Olympic torch bearer on Dorney Lake. A proud moment but his achievements since that time have been much greater.
On 1st and 2nd September he competed in the National Regatta, coming away with no less than 5 gold and 2 bronze medals! Of his achievements, Sam is most proud of the gold medals for his individual 1000m in his age group and for the 200m with his partner in the under 18 category: both Sam and the other paddler Will are still only 16 so were competing against many others older than themselves. Sam’s parents were there to give him encouragement, along with 20-25 of his fellow club members from Reading Canoe Club.
On 5th September Sam started at Henley College to begin his AS level course. He travelled to Hungary on 13th to compete in the International Olympic Hopes Regatta on 14th-16th where he was one of a team of 24 from Britain aged 15-17. Kayaking, Sam tells me, is the dominant sport in Hungary where children begin paddling at a very young age, unlike in Britain where it is a minority sport. 2000 competitors came from 27 countries so this was serious stuff!
Again Sam was paired with Will, from Worcester, and with whom he has only trained on five occasions before going to Hungary. They got through to the final in all three races and gained a bronze in the 1000m. No mean achievement for a first time at an international regatta!
Keep it up, Sam, we look forward to recording more of your successes!