IT is an impressive feat to make the Australian team in any sport, but to do so alongside a close friend is something extra special.
Seventeen-year-old pair Kira Wall and Louis Richardson were already good friends when they joined the Swan Canoe Club together in 2009, but the pair have managed to grow even closer after they were named in the 2017 Australian Junior Canoe Slalom team.
White Gum Valley’s Kira competes in both kayak and canoe and already has more than 70 medals and trophies under her belt including a 2017 under-18 Australian National K1 championship title and a third place finish in the 2017 Oceania Championships in the junior C1 race.
She also has a slew of international experience, competing at the Junior World Championships in Poland last year and is well into preparation for this year’s competition in Slovakia next month.
“As soon as I started paddling white-water there was no going back,” she said.
“It’s addictive; the rush of surfing waves and the rush of racing against the clock.
“But really, I think what I love most is the people you meet, and the places it takes you, everyone remembers their first tour, mine was New Zealand in 2014 and it was such a great trip.
“Since then kayaking taken me to Europe, New Zealand again and Sydney, Melbourne and Tasmania multiple times, all along the way meeting great people.”
South Fremantle resident Louis, who focuses on the kayaking arm of the competition, has also had some success early in his career, including the second placed junior to finish at the 2017 ICF International Australian Open K1 race.
After a strong showing at last year’s Junior World Championships, he said he was looking to improve his technique for this year’s competition as he pushed to further his career.
“It is a mixture of physical and technical ability which makes it challenging but also very rewarding,” he said.
“The adrenaline and excitement when paddling is also a great part about the sport.
“This year there was around 10 very competitive athletes all going for the spots-it was very close and there was a lot of competition which made it feel good when i made the team.
“I would love to some day make the under-23 or senior team then potentially Olympic position if i can make it that far and the opportunity arises.”
The pair has been nominated for the Community Newspaper Group’s Local Sports Stars award for their dedication and success in the sport they love.
“We have a shared goal and can train together and motivate each over, we also live pretty close by so it means I can hitch rides with him a lot and it’ll be great on tour having a close mate to cheer me on and someone to go shopping with in Europe,” Kira said.
“It’s a very fun, exciting sport and it’s always a load of fun when you can get your friends involved,” Louis said.
Kira Wall and Louis Richardson
CATEGORY: Junior Sports Star Individual
To nominate, visit www.localsportsstars.com.au.