European Championships a key focus for Norwich youngster Harry Shearer

Harry Shearer in action. Picture: Submitted

Harry Shearer in action. Picture: Submitted - Credit: Archant

Kayak racer Harry Shearer is one of 19 young athletes receiving coaching from the Young Norfolk Sports Academy.

The 17-year-old Norwich Canoe Club member has previously been selected to race internationally at under-16 level.

In the latest of our monthly updates with YNSA athletes, the Norwich School sixth-form pupil gives us an insight into his sporting development.

Last year's season was one of mixed fortunes for me.

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Early in the year, I won the scout category in the Devizes to Westminster canoe race, finishing in just under 16 hours 27 minutes and breaking the scout record for the 126-mile course.

Part of this success in the dying miles was down to a strong mental attitude and different methods of motivating myself, which had come from a YNSA lecture by sport and exercise psychologist Juliet Lloyd.

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This proved to be invaluable! At the first regatta I managed to get promoted into the highest boys sprint division, which is a completely different aspect of the sport, and managed to get selected for the super-regional squad.

Later on in the year, I just missed out on selection for my first international event. This was when the shared experiences from the other top athletes which I have been connected with from around Norfolk, through the YNSA programme, came in handy.

I was able to reflect and to pick myself up, finishing sixth in the age group nationals for 500 metres.

Along with the support of my coaches, parents and YNSA, I have been able to achieve many of my goals, and the support of the YNSA over the winter has proved invaluable, with gym membership helping me to achieve the strength I need for next year.

With the continued support of the academy, I want to be selected for the European Championships next year, and fingers crossed I'll make it!

Hard work paying off

'Harry should be incredibly proud of his performances last season,' head of the Young Norfolk Sports Academy, Richard Sims, said.

'He has continued to work extremely hard throughout the year and I know Harry has been very kind about the YNSA and all those who have supported him however these successes don't happen unless the individual actually does the hard work and makes the necessary sacrifices.

'Harry is about to start the season's races shortly and we wish him the best of luck for the forthcoming season.'

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