Search for courses or information

Sport

UEL canoeist wins GB trials to seal place at World Championships

Courses

UEL student Chris Bowers produces a nerveless performance to gain selection for GB senior team

University of East London (UEL) Sports Scholar Chris Bowers produced the performance of his life to win the British Canoe Slalom Selection Series in the individual kayak (K1) class and book his place at this summer’s World Championships.

Chris, 18, was the last man to go in the third final of the series on Sunday at the Lee Valley White Water Centre after qualifying quickest that day. But he held his nerve to beat his nearest rival by almost half a second

He flew down the course, the scene of the Olympic canoe slalom competition at London 2012, to clock a winning time of 94.13 seconds, including a two-second penalty for touching a gate.

Combined with his second-place finish in the final on Saturday, his brilliant performance means he will compete for both the GB seniors and the GB under-23s at the World Championships in Pau, France, in September.

He will be joined in France by fellow UEL student Zachary Allin, 19, who clinched a place in the GB under-23 squad. Zachary also competes in the K1 class.

Chris, who combines training at Lee Valley with studying for an Accounting and Finance degree at UEL, can now look forward to a summer of top-quality racing that will see him compete in the European Championships, four World Cup meets and both the senior and the under 23s World Championships.

“Selection was right down to wire when I was coming down the course on the last day,” said Chris. “I was the last one off in the finals after qualifying first and I had to win that race to make the GB team. Second wouldn't have done it.

“I knew I had a chance of getting on the senior team but having a chance and doing it are completely different things.

“I'm excited for the summer now. I'll be away for races and it's my first chance to compete properly on the international scene for a full year. It should be a really good experience.”

Chris, from Stoke-on-Trent, and Zachary, from Hexham, are among 185 students currently benefiting from UEL’s prestigious Sports Scholarship programme.

The programme offers elite athletes flexibility in their course studies to accommodate training and also provides expert support in areas such as strength and conditioning, physiotherapy, massage, psychology and nutrition.

Chris said the programme had been instrumental in allowing him to achieve his dream of competing internationally by allowing him to train as an elite athlete at Lee Valley.

“By being really flexible, UEL have allowed me to work on getting a degree while giving me the opportunity to train at Lee Valley every day. They've given me everything I've needed.”