THE Thomastown Paddlers netted a haul of gold medals from a busy weekend of canoeing at the national marathon championships.
The competition, which was held over two days on Leixlip Lake in Kildare, was a triumph for the Paddlers, who now have a number of national champions in their ranks.
The races were held over distances of 8km, 12km and 16km, with a ‘portage’ adding excitement to each lap. Competitors had to leave their boat and run along the bank before re-entering the water.
The weekend started with the K1 races. The highlight for Thomastown was Cait Broderick’s win in the under-18 girls’ division. Racing against tough opposition, Cait took gold by a considerable margin while also cementing her place on the Irish team for the World Championships in Rome in September.
In the corresponding boys’ division, Alex Broderick had a great result finishing in fifth place. On the longer 16km course Donnacha Brennan represented the club in the competitive senior men’s race, finishing an impressive seventh. Anthony Forristal fared better on the same course, winning gold in the under-23 division.
On the 12km course there were impressive performances from Martin Walsh and David McCormack. Competing in the men’s division, they finished fourth and seventh respectively. Callum Taylor had a great day on the 8km course, finishing fourth in the under-15 division.
The focus of Sunday’s racing was on the K2 divisions, where competitors teamed up to race in double boats. In a fantastic day for the club, each of the five competing members of Thomastown Paddlers won their respective divisions.
Among the big winners were Alex Broderick and Martin Walsh, who won gold in the very competitive men’s 12km division. Also on this course Cait Broderick teamed up with Juliet Sweeney (Salmon Leap CC) to land her second national title of the weekend in the girls’ under-18 division.
On the longer 16km course Paul and Anthony Forristal teamed up to win the under-23 class, wrapping up a very successful weekend for the club.
Next up for the club is a canoe polo competition in Longford at the end of the month, which will be followed by the race from Thomastown to Inistioge in August. The final beginners course of the season will also be held in August. Further information is available from www.thomastownpaddlers.com.