University of East London canoeist sets sights on Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
PUBLISHED: 17:00 04 April 2019
A top slalom canoeist has his sights set on Tokyo for the 2020 Olympic Games.
University of East London (UEL) student, Chris Bowers, is training towards his goal of joining the British canoeing team.
Chris said: “It would be wonderful to be part of Team GB going to Tokyo and compete for my country. The competition is stiff and there are three of us in the running, including the current Olympic champion, Joe Clarke, so it is going to be tough, but I am very hopeful.”
The champion canoeist spends much of his time training at Lee Valley White Water Centre in Waltham Cross.
The 20-year-old comes from Stoke on Trent, but moved south to study at UEL and be near the centre.
Chris started canoeing aged 10 and now trains from 20 to 25 hours a week, balancing his canoeing ambitions with part-time studies for an accounting and finance degree.
He should know if he has been lucky enough to be chosen by September following a selection event on April 21 and 22.
Among his credits, Chris has won bronze medals in national and international competitions.
He said: “I caught the canoeing bug when my brother Marc invited me along for a taster day to try it. From then on, I have been on the water.”
Chris qualified for the junior team in Stoke for four consecutive years from 2014.
He said: “In 2017 I was fortunate to get selected for both the senior and under-23 team and also for some senior races.
“I was really happy to get into the senior team. I knew I had the potential to make it, but I was surprised to get in.
“From junior to the under-23 team is quite a big jump. Now I have an even bigger challenge to face for Tokyo.”
Chris took part in the World Championships in Rio in 2018, racing on the Rio Olympic course.
He said: “UEL has helped a lot, enabling me to continue my training while studying, so I can progress my career.”
Chris is supported by National Lottery funding from UK Sport, as well as UEL.
Matt Tansley, UEL’s director of sport, said: “We are proud of all the medals Chris has achieved as a canoeist and wish him every success.”