Sport

Walsh ready to take on world

By Andrew Johnston

SINCE he picked up a paddle, Josh Walsh has been aiming to race at the world championships.

In 2018 he told the Riv his one goal was to make the 2020 world event in Hawaii.

Fast forward nearly 18 months, the AOCRA Sprint Nationals 2020 on the Sunshine Coast have seen Walsh claim a stash of medals and achieve his goal of national selection.

In both under-16 and under-19 races, Walsh claimed three first place finishes in team events, four second place finishes and fifth place in his one singles event.

Walsh said he couldn't have been happier with his performance.

“It was a fantastic event to be a part of,” he said.

“To get to qualify for events at the world titles in both under-16s and under-19s is a huge honour for me. I set this goal and have been doing everything I can to work towards it, so it's the best feeling to make it.

“To get to compete in a worlds event is huge. I'm looking forward to giving it my all, but in the back of my mind I'm also thinking about how I can improve and set myself up in the build-up.”

Walsh qualified in straights - a 500m team race - and turns - a 1000m race which has turns every 250m - with his team.

Though his singles race - the boys V1 500 - saw him go head-to-head with other members of his crew.

“Five us made up the top five in the race,” he said.

“There was a second and a half between third and fifth, that's how close we all were. It was a very eventful final, everyone is going as hard as they can to win. We all finished pretty close together.”

Now, all attentions turn to getting ready for the world event in Hawaii in August, which will involve a lot of hard work for the young canoeist.

“I'm on the water paddling three or four times a week,” he said.

“I also go to the gym three times a week and make sure I am running every day to stay as fit as I can. It's hard work, but it's worth it.

“I set a goal for myself a long time ago to get there, I've now got the opportunity so I need to put in as much effort as I can in order to get the best possible results I can.

“I've worked hard to earn this opportunity, now I have to make the most of it.”