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New Appointments for World Class Slalom Programme

The British Canoe Slalom programme has today announced two new coaching appointments as the team expands and takes shape for the Tokyo Games and Paris cycle.

Greg Hitchen will take up a brand new Podium Technical Coach role with Luke Smyth appointed to an Academy Technical Coach position, following a rigorous selection process for the two posts.

Greg Luke

The appointments come as the programme sets itself up for a unique year ahead with both the postponed Olympic Games and a World Championships scheduled for next summer in what will be both the last year of the Tokyo cycle and the first year of the Paris 2024 cycle.

Canoe Slalom Head Coach, Mark Ratcliffe, said: 

"We’re delighted with the new appointments. Greg brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience from every level of the sport having worked his way up the pathway from a regional coach in 2008.

“Luke is an exciting young talent in canoe slalom and we’re looking forward to seeing him grow into the role and make his mark on the sport.

I’d like to congratulate both Greg and Luke on their new appointments and look forward to working with them as we build towards Paris 2024.

– Canoe Slalom Head Coach, Mark Ratcliffe

A former international paddler, Greg joined Canoe England in 2008 and has since worked his way up the organisation. In his most recent role as Lead Podium Potential Coach he built the squad up to 14 athletes and cites seeing the paddlers reach their potential as the most rewarding element of the role. 

He said: “I am extremely excited to work in the sport at the very highest level. 

It’s an incredible privilege to have the opportunity to work with such a successful group of athletes and staff and I have been very fortunate to progress through the whole of the pathway as a coach for British Canoeing, working with some inspirational athletes and colleagues along the way.

– Greg Hitchen, Canoe Slalom Podium Technical Coach

“This has only been possible through the opportunities the organisation has provided and the amazing support from my family. It is with great enthusiasm that I enter this next chapter of my coaching career.”

Luke is a former talent squad member who took up slalom paddling as part of the London 2012 Olympic legacy project and has most recently been part of the coaching team for major international junior and U23 events. After four years in his regional talent coaching role, he is delighted with the step up to the Academy. He said: 

“I am extremely happy to have been offered the role of Academy Technical Coach after a highly competitive process. It has been a dream of mine since I started coaching for British Canoeing.

“I have had an amazing time working within the Southern Regional Talent Programme and I want to thank the coaching team, parents and athletes for their support throughout."

I'm really looking forward to the exciting, new challenge, working with a great group of athletes, coaches, support staff and people.

– Luke Smyth, Canoe Slalom Academy Technical Coach

Recruitment for a Lead Academy Coach and South Regional Talent Coach will begin shortly with details of the roles advertised on the British Canoeing vacancies page and social media channels in due course.

For more information about the Canoe Slalom World Class Programme, please click here.