CANOEING: WARWICK youngster Alex Greaves has been selected as one of the 50 athletes to represent Team GB at the upcoming 2017 European Youth Olympic Festival in Győr, Hungary.
Greaves, who will represent his county in the canoeing event, hopes his selection can be the start of a career in the sport after taking inspiration to start the sport following a walk in the park.
The 15-year-old will jet off to Hungary to compete at the games which will see 3,000 athletes from 50 European nations come together to compete across ten Olympic sports at the end of month, July 23-29.
Team GB’s athletes, who will all be aged 14-17 at the event, will compete in six of the sports including canoe sprint, cycling, gymnastics, judo, swimming, and tennis.
Athletics, basketball, handball and volleyball will complete the sporting programme.
Having won at least 20 medals in each of the previous 13 summer festivals, there will be added pressure on Team GB’s rising stars to perform once again this term.
The Trinity Catholic school student told The Observer he first took to the water after watching members of the Royal Leamington Spa Canoe Club training while he was on a walk with his father.
He said: “I asked my dad if we could visit the club so we did and I was immediately made welcome.
“I made lots of friends when I joined, that made competing and learning to progress great fun and also easier.”
It was only until Greaves realised his potential that he started taking the sport seriously, and with the support of his family he’s now set to take on Europe’s best.
Star Olympic athletes including Becky Adlington, Pete Kennaugh, Sally Conway and Nile Wilson all had their first taste of an Olympic-style event at an EYOF event before winning an Olympic medal at senior level.
Greaves said: “I strive to be the best while having fun.
“I train eight times a week at Royal Leamington Spa canoe club – and now all that hard work is paying off.”
“Qualifying for the European Olympic Youth Festival means a lot because it shows what all my training has achieved.
“Looking ahead I would love to win gold at the European and World Championships.
“The Olympics is another obvious aim as well as becoming a coach.”