Echuca's Tony Bond is off to Rio de Janeiro on Saturday to compete in the 2014 Va’a World Sprint Championships.ERIN LYONS August 7, 2014 3:04am
Age is just a number for long-time paddler Tony Bond.
The 61-year old veteran will travel to Rio de Janeiro on Saturday to compete in the 2014 Va’a World Sprint Championships.
While Bond will be accompanied by 30 of Australia’s best paddlers, he will be the only Victorian representing his country.
‘‘It just so happens that everyone else lives in Queensland,’’ he said.
‘‘I only see the Australian team when I head to competition.’’
The World Sprint Championships are held every two years and Bond is proud to announce that the forthcoming 2016 competition will be held on home turf.
‘‘The previous championships have been held in New Caledonia and Canada,’’ he said.
‘‘But the next one will be held on the Sunshine Coast, which will be great because I don’t have to travel.’’
The paddler said Rio might be expecting less competitors than usual because many countries have safety concerns about the location of the tournament.
‘‘Some countries may only take one competitor over. I’ll be racing mostly against Brazilian paddlers,’’ he said.
‘‘Whereas at the next comp on the Sunshine Coast we should attract around 2000 paddlers from around the world.’’
Bond expects about 1600 competitors to be competing in Rio.
The paddler is his own coach and trains individually in Echuca. He also holds multiple titles from various events.
‘‘I’m number one in both the over 60s and adaptive class. So I represent both teams,’’ he said.
‘‘I’m actually the steerer for the para canoe adaptive class too.’’
The adaptive class is split into four categories and includes competitors with either physical or visual disabilities.
Bond said as a steerer he was responsible for the safety of the physically disabled paddlers.
‘‘They are mostly in wheelchairs, so they get strapped into the boat,’’ he said.
‘‘I’m in charge to make sure when I turn the boat that we don’t go outside the lanes or tip over.’’
As an Echuca born resident, Bond has grown up alongside the Murray River.
So, he said it was only natural that he developed an interest in canoeing at 14 years of age.
‘‘Got given my first bat (paddle) at 14, so since then I’ve stuck with it,’’ he said.
Bond said his biggest achievement was earning a spot on the podium.
‘‘I came second at the worlds four years ago in New Caledonia,’’ he said.
Despite his age, the veteran believes he still has a good decade of competitive paddling left in him.
‘‘The age groups go all the way up to over 70s,’’ he said.
‘‘So, I hope to be competing at the Sunshine Coast in two years’ time.’’
Bond said the key to winning an event came down to the turn.
‘‘If you can’t turn a boat, you’ve got no hope,’’ he said.
‘‘It should be called the turning race.’’
The 61-year old usually competes in the golden master (60-69 age group) but will also be representing Australia in the men’s open division, adaptive class and over 40s in Rio next week.
The International Va’a Federation and Brazilian Canoe Confederation hope to promote the unusual sport by recruiting a new generation of paddlers.
Coca-Cola Amatil has confirmed it will be pressing on with its $100 million redevelopment of SPC Ardmona.
Beautiful weather greeted Tungamah residents for the 18th running of the Tungamah Lions Ten Thousand on Sunday.
When Keith and Marion Grumley and their growing family moved to Tatura on January 18, 1968, little did they know that it would be the start of a long and lasting connection to the town.
A snake was spotted this afternoon.
Rochester Rotary Club has celebrated its 50th birthday in style.
Sorting future of Campaspe pools
A theatre production with a difference is coming to Seymour.
Local athletes will go head-to-head with some of the best competitors from around the world in swimming and athletics in December.
District residents and visitors will be able to enjoy some of the region’s most beautiful private gardens on Sunday.
The 116th annual Cobram Show went off with a bang at the weekend, drawing in crowds from far and wide for two days of fun.
Tomorrow is a Total Fire Ban day in Deniliquin, meaning no fires can be lit in the open and all fire permits are suspended.
Fifty new full-time jobs will be created at Tatura with a multimillion-dollar expansion of the abattoirs expected to be announced today.
Remembering Australian political giant Gough Whitlam who once called on Benalla police to stop then Treasurer Frank Crean on his journey up the Hume to phone the PM.
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