PARRY SOUND – On Monday, two local teens are getting on a plane bound for Italy to paddle for Canada’s junior team in the International Canoe Federation (ICF) dragon boat world championships.
Both Charlotte Little, 15, and Bill Bailey, 16, are members of the Parry Sound Canoe Club.
They learned they’d made the under-18 junior team earlier this summer.They leave for the competition Monday and return Labour Day weekend.
It isn’t the history of Italy that has Charlotte’s attention, but who’ll be on shore watching the athletes.
“It’s a great opportunity to be going to Italy this year because all the Olympic coaches will be there and one day I hope to be in the Olympics,” she said. “I’d have to take up another sport (with dragon boat not being an Olympic sport). I think if I was to do it I’d do kayak or rowing.”
In just his second year of paddling, Bill is also taking part with an eye of possibly switching to a sprint canoe and representing Canada in the Olympics one day.
“It’s really intense, really fast, even the long races, it’s like 2,000 metres (and) it’s still like a full out sprint,” he said of paddling.
This isn’t Charlotte’s first time on the world stage. Last year she was on the junior team for the International Dragon Boat Federation’s world competition in Florida. Earlier this month she tried out with the federation again for the 2013 worlds in Hungary.
“Coach Gord (Cole) has been a huge inspiration,” said Charlotte. “And he actually, this year he extended the training so we could try out for Hungary next year.”