Piers Oliphant (bottom left) and GB team-mates
IT will be world class white water that faces Newbury teenager Piers Oliphant when he competes for Great Britain’s under 19s in the 2015 International Rafting World Championships in Indonesia next week.
The 16-year old Downs School pupil is one of seven rafters making up the GB youth team following a selection event staged at Olympic Park in March and with training at the Olympic White Water Centre at Lee Valley.
Ten teams made up of youth, senior and master teams were competing for places, and, said the current Great Britain junior under 16 kayak slalom champion: “My sport of choice is kayak slalom where I enjoy paddling for the England team.
“However, I met the captain of the raft team at a race, who also happens to be a slalom kayak paddler, and so the opportunity of also paddling a raft came about.
“It was totally different paddling in a team, as kayak slalom is mainly an individual sport, so although I could paddle I had to learn to think about five other people and racing a raft on a white water river is not as easy as it looks.
“We have been training hard in the run-up to the world championships and we are optimistic about our chances. Some of the teams we are competing against are coming from as far away as Russia, Turkey and Indonesia and we will all be staying together in a purpose built athletes village.
“It will be culturally very different to anything I have been used to,” he added, “and I’m looking forward to meeting the athletes from the different countries as there are over 71 teams competing in six different categories.
“My school have been really supportive in enabling me to fit my A Level studies around the trip and I hope to come back with some medals to share with them.”
The current under 19 men’s youth team have retained three of their original team members and this is the second time they have qualified to represent Great Britain. The team was introduced to the international rafting arena two years ago, when they qualified and became the first ever GB under 19 boys Youth Team and competed in New Zealand, securing two silvers and one bronze medal.
The new team line up consists of original members Matt Bishop and Sam Daley, the joint captains, from Cheshunt Jacob Hussein from Tring and newcomers Piers Oliphant, Henry Burke from Havering, Patrick Marriott from Lutterworth and Jordan Peck from Cheshunt.
The under 19 girts team will accompany them as the first to represent GB in this category.
The teams depart for Indonesia on Wednesday, November 25 for the bi-annual event, which will be staged on the Citarik River at Sukabumi, West Java, from November 29 to December 8.