Olympic Hopefuls

PUBLISHED: 07:33 17 November 2010 | UPDATED: 18:11 20 February 2013

Aged 24, Helen is a rower and comes from Penzance.

Aged 24, Helen is a rower and comes from Penzance.

Meet three young women – a rower, windsurfer and kayaker – who are Cornwall's 2012 Olympic hopefuls. Words by Lesley Double

Meet three young women a rower, windsurfer and kayaker who are Cornwalls 2012 Olympic hopefuls. Words by Lesley Double



Considering Cornwall has over 300 miles of coastline, you are never more than 20 miles from the sea, and so its not surprising that many of us work, rest and play in or on the water. For most its just a hobby but for a very dedicated and select few it is their life and work, and their dreams and aspirations hang on the perfect wave or breath of wind that might one day elevate them to Olympic glory.
Today, a trio of young Cornish women are preparing for the time of their lives the 2012 Olympic Games. We wish them good luck and want to let them know that the whole of Cornwall is behind them.


HELEN GLOVER
Aged 24, Helen is a rower and comes from Penzance.


What Olympic rowing category are you training for?


Womens open weight.


How many hours a day do you train?


We train for six to seven hours a day. However, with rest time and physiotherapy sessions, we are usually at training venues for 11 hours a day.


Where do you train?
At Caversham Lake in Reading.


How old were you when you started? Why did you start this particular sport?


In 2008 I was recruited as part of a scheme that was looking for tall 2012 potentials, called Sporting Giants. This was designed to take people with good physical attributes for rowing and provide the coaching and support needed to hopefully make the team for London 2012. I was selected and moved up to Bath to train, and am now a member of the Great Britain Rowing Team.



Have you tried any other sport? If so, why did you change?


I ran international cross-country as a junior, and also played hockey, playing on the England satellite squad representing Cornwall, and played for Penzance Hockey team. The change in sport came because I felt I should grasp this opportunity and try to compete at London 2012.


What have you achieved so far?


Since making the GB team this year, I have been rowing in the pairs event, and my pairs partner, Heather Stanning, and I have competed at three World Cups, finishing 5th in the final at our best event. I have been selected to race in the Womens Pairs event at the 2010 World Championships in New Zealand.


Who has encouraged/helped/coached you?


My family has been a fantastic support. I didnt know if I would be any good at rowing and worked as a PE teacher to fund my training. My parents helped a lot during this time. Financial support also came from the Lord Lieutenants Fund, which provides Cornish youngsters with help to pursue ambitions. Ive been helped and supported in many ways by Penzance and Mounts Bay Rotary Clubs, Humphry Davy School, and my coach Paul Stannard.


What are your hopes for the future?



I am fairly new to the GB team so I want to solidify my position with good performances at the next two World Championships. This will provide me with the best chance to represent Great Britain at the 2012 Olympics.


IZZY HAMILTON
Aged 18, Izzy is a windsurfer and comes from Bude.


What Olympic category are you training for?


RS:X Windsurfing Racing.


How many hours a day do you train?


Depending on the season between one hour and all day!


Where do you train?


I do lots of work in the gym and training on the water in Weymouth.


How old were you when you started? Why did you start this particular sport?


I started windsurfing at Tamar Lakes kids club when I was 12 years old. I chose windsurfing because I had lots of fun paddling around and jumping in with my friends!


Have you tried any other sport? If so, why did you change?



I tried sailing initially but quickly switched to windsurfing, as I found I was better at it.




What have you achieved so far?
I have two Junior Silver World Medals, two International Sailing Federation Youth World Silver Medals, and a Youth Class World Championships Gold Medal. I am three times Youth National Champion and I have the Bronze Under-21 World Medal.


Who has encouraged/helped/coached you?



The RYA has produced the pathway from T15 racing to Junior, Youth and Senior Racing, which I have followed. I have had many coaches, including Leo McCallin and Dom Tidey. I have been helped by all the staff and specialists at the RYA, and sponsors including Skandia, Samworth Brothers and other local companies.


What are your hopes for the future?



I hope to qualify for the Olympic Performance Squad, qualify to compete at the Olympics and win an Olympic Gold Medal!


JENNA HAWKEY
Aged 24, Jenna is a sprint kayaker and comes from Portreath.


What Olympic category are you training for?


The Kayak Pairs/Doubles (K2) and Kayak Fours (K4) 500m.


How many hours a day do you train?


I train for about five hours a day in three sessions of 1-2 hours.


Where do you train?


I train at Dorney Lake in Eton and Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre near Maidenhead with the GB squad. When Im at home I go kayaking on the River Fal around Malpas, use the gym and pool at Truro Leisure Centre and train in the sea at Portreath Surf Lifesaving Club.


How old were you when you started? Why did you start this particular sport?


I was 18 when I started flat-water kayaking. Ive been a member of Portreath Surf Live Saving Club, where I first got into surf ski paddling, since I was eight.


Have you tried any other sport? If so why did you change?


When I was at school I represented Cornwall at hockey, netball and cross-country, but was never especially good at any of them. I stuck with surf lifesaving, but changed to sprint kayaking in 2006 when my club mates at Exeter Canoe Club encouraged me to race at the National Regattas. I was selected for the GB Kayak Team that year.


What have you achieved so far?


Ive competed internationally in surf lifesaving since 2003, and have been a member of the GB Kayak Team since 2006. In 2010, I came 5th in the 500m Kayak Fours at the European Championships in Spain and 7th in the 1000m Kayak Pairs at the World Championships in Poland. Im also a European Gold and World Silver medalist at surf-ski racing.


Who has encouraged/helped/coached you?



Its thanks to my first coach, Glenn Eldridge, that I first got into single kayaking (K1). Andy Worth, my training partner from Exeter Canoe Club, first persuaded me to race at National Regattas and Rob Philips, Chairman of Portreath Surf Life Saving club, has always been immensely encouraging. And, of course, my fianc, Andy, who has given up and put up with a lot to support me.


What are your hopes for the future?



Id love to be selected to race at the Olympic Games. To win a medal would be even better. Id really like to win the surf-ski race at the World Lifesaving Championships and also do more races on the surf-ski World Series. Im also getting married next year (2011) and thats about as exciting as those three put together!

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