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Talent Identification Programmes

British Canoeing has a great track record of developing athletes through Talent Identification (TID) Programmes. Recent successes from athletes that have come through our talent programmes include participation at the London 2012 Olympic Games and representing Great Britain at the World Championships.

We currently have 2 exciting Talent Programmes running in Canoe Sprint: Discover Your Power (formally known as Girls4Gold) and Sprint Futures. These aim to build greater strength and depth in British Canoeing’s talent pool and to fast-track athletes that have outstanding talent in Canoe Sprint.

Discover Your Power: Canoeing

This programme is aimed at talented female athletes who have what it takes to transfer from their current sport to Canoe Sprint, to train toward and aim to compete in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The project is a partnership between UK Sport, the English Institute of Sport (EIS) and British Canoeing.

Prior canoeing experience is not essential for the programme which targets:

  • Athletic females aged 15-17 who compete at regional standard in any sport
  • Motivated, high performing women aged 18-25 who compete at national standard in any sport

Discover Your Power is an exciting opportunity for British Canoeing to work in partnership with UK Sport and the EIS to capitalise on the successes we had at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Whilst we have some outstandingly talented women already in our sport, as we look beyond Rio and onto Tokyo we want to build greater strength and depth in our talent pool so we can challenge for more medals in more events by 2020. Our aspiration is to be the number one Olympic and Paralympic canoeing nation by 2020 so there is no better time to get involved with Sprint Canoeing.

– Performance Director John Anderson commenting on the launch of Girls4Gold: Canoeing

Together with UK Sport and the EIS, British Canoeing launched Discover Your Power, previously known as Girls4Gold. A project to uncover powerful, female athletes to compete in the 200m and 500m canoe and kayak events and ultimately represent GB at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

A six month selection process that included three gruelling phases of testing and an intense six-week camp in Nottingham, saw 15 athletes out of over 500 initial applicants fast-tracked in to the British Canoeing World Class Programme in 2014.

The athletes are from eclectic sporting backgrounds and include a European karate champion, as well as a national level gymnast and an American Football player. They have all moved to Nottingham and, as we move into 2016, 14 of the original 15 athletes are still in full-time training at the National Water Sports Centre.

They are initially being funded as part of the UK Sport National Lottery funded World Class Programme.

Proven success: Former national hockey player Angela Hannah transitioned into canoeing after being identified by an early British Canoeing and UK Sport talent programme. Hannah made the K4 500m final at London 2012 and has won medals at World Cup level in the sport.

It's fantastic that Girls4Gold has found 12* talented, new athletes who will be joining the GB Canoeing programme and strengthening our female squad. Having come through a similar process myself, I know this will be a very exciting time for the girls as they begin their new lives as full-time athletes. There is a lot of hard work ahead of them and I wish them all the very best and look forward to working with them.

– Angela Hannah *(these first 12 athletes began in July 2014 and were later joined by a further 3 athletes in the Autumn of 2014).

Sprint Futures

As part of the previous Girls4Gold, now known as Discover Your Potential, talent identification process we also found 17 younger female athletes aged between 14-18 that have formed a ‘Sprint Futures’ programme. This programme is centered around three hubs at Lee Valley, Melksham near Bath and at the National Water Sports Centre, Nottingham. It provides coached training opportunities each week at the hub site as well as a number of national camps each year. This is an exciting opportunity for these athletes and means that we have a group of girls applying bottom up pressure to the G4G / DYP programme athletes which should create very healthy competition within the sport.


If you are a current paddler aged 15-18 for males and 15-25 for females, and are interested in transferring your skills to Canoe Sprint please contact British Canoeing on 0115 982 2094.