Friday, 27 August 2010

World junior kayak/canoe championships 2010

Way back at the beginning of July, the town held the above named event. We knew it was coming because a few months before, painted kayaks filled with plants started appearing on roundabouts. There was even a kayak tied to the lamp post at the end of my road. No other signs telling what was coming or happening of course.
I went looking for the event in entirely the wrong direction.
It was the French family who put me right, so the final day of the competition I headed for the nearest parking lot and walked down to the river.
There was an atheletes' tent village, a bouncy castle... no expense had been spared. Again no signs to tell spectators where to go, so I walked along a path of flattened grass until I reached another slope down to the river path.

There was a start banner on the river, so I turned left and followed the path until I got to a stretch marked 14. There was a metal barrien splitting the path in half. The half nearest the river was for the competitors and the official photographers. The half furthest from the river was for the spectators.
I took up my position in the blistering morning 30 degree sun. Sure enough names and countries would be announced and kayaks would duly speed down the river with the contestants having to manoeuvre round poles, negotiate rapid sections of white water etc.
I was no more than 2 meters from the waters edge but the 3x zoom on my compact camera was not enough to bring the middle of the river action up close.

Female competitor trying to find her kayak
There were also the team members running along the path waving flags, tooting horns, screaming between me and the paddlers. There were also stationary team members videoing contestants and uploading the results ot laptops. It was difficult to get a clear photo is what I am trying to say. I also had a video camera with a huge zoom capability with me, so I tried that out on snap shot mode for a while. It was so slow that although I could zoom in to the action, by the time the camera took the snap, the kayaker had long gone.

You're supposed to go round the gate, not under it! It looked
so easy...

This was the semi final time heats with the fastest 10 to go through into the afternoon’s finals. There was even a Britain in the running, but as the time wore on, he gradually got pushed out of the final. My theory is that the water was getting faster as the morning went on.

A competitor picked at random. Not wearing her
wet suit and not really trying to look cool either.
Note the competitive muscles.

A hot dog (okay, puppy)


After about 2 hours I got fed up and at around about noon, me and my picnic headed homewards to find some shade, never to return.

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