When local veteran paddler Kevin Phillips pulled out his Australian Canoeing representative uniform last week it bought back many fond memories. Kevin knows first-hand how excited and nervous Kayla Whinray will be when she arrives this week in Europe ahead of the 2013 World Championships.By Jared Loughnan and Fiona Blick
Kevin represented Australia in the Mens’ Open C2 class in the 1986 and 1992 World Championships, travelling to Europe in 1986 and then to Brisbane on 1992.
“It’s a great experience and honour to represent your country and I am sure Kayla is very excited,” Kevin said.
Both proud Yarrawonga Mulwala Canoe Club members caught up last Thursday morning before Kayla flew out on the Friday with Kevin offering his wealth of experience and knowledge.
“It brought back a lot of memories preparing for this photo with Kayla,” Kevin said.
Kevin was selected in the Australian team seven times between 1986 and 1992.
His most memorable occasion was when he travelled to Europe in 1986 for the Word Championship.
While there he competed in various events in the UK, Netherlands, Denmark and Germany.
Kevin and paddle partner Tony Bond from Echuca finished first in the UK Championships in Worchester, fourth in the World Cup Marathon on the River De Vechte at Hardenburg in the Netherlands, then another fourth in the Tour De Gudena Classic in Silkeborg, Denmark and they finished their campaign with an impressive fourth in the Berlin Grand Prix Marathon in Germany.
Kevin said it was an incredible but gruelling experience travelling and competing in various countries he had never been to over a six week period between August and September in 1986.
“We wish Kayla good luck and look forward to hearing about her experiences when she returns,” Kevin said.
As the Chronicle goes to print Wilby’s Kayla Whinray is settling into her training village in Hungary with other members of the Junior Olympic Hopefuls team.
And the local community can be proud of its efforts in helping Kayla get there.
A crowd of 70 attended the Wilby Hall for a casserole tea to support Kayla Whinray on Saturday, August 17.
More than $2,000 was presented to Kayla on the night consisting of donations provided by those in attendance along with many who were unable to attend the evening.
Houghtons, Body Tech Physiotherapy, Sue Campbell and Dawn Campbell donated raffle prizes which were drawn on the evening.
Ian Hargreaves kindly cut a trailer load of wood valued at over $120 which was also raffled.
The winner of this raffle was Linda Ford and it raised more than $600.
The Wilby Hall Committee donated the use of the Hall and Yarra-Mul Fuels & Gas donated the heater.
Last Wednesday the Yarrawonga College P-12, where Kayla is a year 11 student, held a casual day with students and teachers donating a gold coin for the privilege of not wearing school uniform; all proceeds went to assist Kayla’s sporting dream.
Principal Kim Stewart said the SRC for the school was also donating $200.
“The casual day raised $237 from students, $85 from staff and the school council has provided $500,” Ms Stewart said.
“I am very proud that the school is able to provide funds totalling $1,023 to Kayla.”
Kayla will tour Europe throughout September, racing amongst the best Under 17 sprint athletes in the world at the Junior Olympic Hopefuls Regatta in the Czech Republic.
As part of the tour, prior to her races, Kayla will attend a two week training camp in Hungary with other members of the team as they acclimatise to the conditions.
She will also race at the World Marathon Canoe Championships in Denmark a few weeks later in the Under 18 female athletes at the Marathon Worlds.
Her busy schedule includes competing in the K1 (single), K2 (double), K4 (quad) and sprint events plus the K1 and K2 marathon events.
This competition begins on September16 in Copenhagen and the Australian Canoeing website will live stream the event on Friday, September 20.
President of the Yarrawonga Mulwala Amateur Canoe Club Jared Loughnan said the club was extremely proud and honoured to have one of their members representing Australia.
“Kayla has worked extremely hard over several years to achieve this honour and we wish her the very best,” Mr Loughnan said.
The Amateur Canoe Club donated $250 towards Kayla’s trip.
Kayla has undertaken a gruelling training schedule in the lead up to the competitions paddling on the river or going to Priority Fitness at least ten times each week.
“I will be trying at this competition to see how I go and hoping my times will be good enough for a top 10 finish,” Kayla said.
“That result would set me up really well for next year.
I am going overseas by myself but of course mum and dad will be dropping me off at the airport, I think there will be plenty of tears then.
“I would just like to make a special thankyou to everyone who has supported me in my trip to Europe to represent Australia.
“I have been absolutely blown away by the generosity of so many people.
“I have never been so proud to be from a small Australian country town.
“It is nice to know that when I am lining up on the start line I will have all of their support behind me.”
Kayla said she would like to thank Murray Valley Rural Services, ClubMulwala, Yarrawonga Lionesses, CWA, JA White Engineering, Yarrawonga College P-12, Lions Club of Yarrawonga, the Yarrawonga Chronicle, Wilby Women’s Ag and Chat group and all the individuals who have also supported me.
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