A canoeist from Shropshire bidding to represent Team GB at the 2016 Paralympics is appealing for help to fund a new boat which could be the difference between success and failure.
Kelda Wood is training to be part of the canoe team competing at the Rio Paralympics in September and says a new boat which has just become available is an opportunity too good to miss.
The new boat is 2.5kg lighter than the one Kelda currently paddles, which she said would take about 0.5 seconds off her time – a significant saving over 200 metres.
Kelda, who lives near Shrewsbury, is already looking to raise £9,000 to be able to continue to train full-time, after receiving continued support and direct funding totalling £10,000 through UK Sport.
The new boat would cost in the region of £3,000 and she said it would be a very worthwhile investment.
“To me, it’s a no-brainer to be honest,” Kelda said. “Half a second is a huge chunk of time across 200 metres so getting this type of boat could really make the difference between qualifying and missing out.
“We have specific boats that we are able to use for competitions and this boat has just become available, so it’s an exciting development.
“The only snag is that it is an extra £3,000 on top of what I was already trying to raise through sponsorship, so I am expanding my appeal for help.
“Any funding I could get to go towards it would be a massive help and would be a huge boost towards my chances of representing Team GB at Rio.”
Kelda has been selected for a training camp in Belo, in Brazil, during January when the team will practice under the same conditions they will face at the Paralympics.
She said: “After all the ups and downs of the last 12 months I am incredibly proud to be part of the team going out to Brazil, and this is a huge stepping stone in fulfilling my childhood dream of representing my country at the Olympics.
“I still have to pinch myself everyday to make sure I realise that this is actually happening!
“We’ll be staying in Belo for two weeks training at the same venue as the holding camp for the actual Paralympics.
“This will give us the opportunity to get familiar with the training environment, enabling us to deliver peak performances come September.
“Vital research will also be done into our sleep patterns, the effect of training at altitude, as well as all areas of training, hydration and nutrition, which will help maximize our performances at the Paralympics. It’s exciting to be part of such a process.
“We’ll then go up to Rio itself for two days to familiarise ourselves with the actual Olympic venue. This is an amazing opportunity to go into the Games the best prepared we can possibly be.
“Thanks must go to UK Sport and Lottery Funding, without whom this trip would not be possible. Hand in hand with the world class support and coaching we receive through British Canoeing, we really do enter into the Olympic year as genuine contenders at the Games.
“I am proud and incredibly grateful to be part of this amazing team.”
A crowdfunding page has been set up where people can make donations at www.crowdfunder.co.uk/keldas-
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