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.
KEVIN PROBERT DECIDES TO LEAVE AS THE CLUB LOOKS TO BOUNCE BACK WITH A WIN OVER WARRANDYTE
The Yarrawonga Pigeons scored a 20 point victory over the Myrtleford Saints at the JC Lowe Oval in Yarrawonga on Saturday.
The Aboriginal and wider community is mourning the death of revered Bangerang Aboriginal elder, Uncle John ‘‘Sandy’’ Atkinson.
Echuca-Moama Cycling Club’s All Rivers Enduro mountain bike race is proof that if you build an event, the public and competitors will come.
FOUR Rochester residents did more than their bit for women’s cancers mid last month when they trekked 60km around Melbourne to raise funds for the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.
Tongala Football Club lost to Rumbalara in the Murray Netball League on Saturday by 14 points.
Four generations of Comi girls this Mother's Day
Berrigan Shire councillor Daryll Morris says he has been sickened by some of the vitriol and personal attacks to surface since the council’s proposal to redevelop Finley’s Memorial Hall and School of Arts site was revealed in October last year.
DESPITE criticism from within the community over a perceived lack of use, the O’Keefe Rail Trail has enjoyed good traffic over the past couple of weeks, with more to come.
The usual yellow and black colours at Katamatite Recreation Reserve will be replaced this Mother’s Day as pink will be the colour of choice.
Jake has babies to thank for surviving cancer.
Fonterra suppliers are reeling after the announcement of a big cut in the milk price from $5.60/kg to $5 for the full current year.
The News magazines are online - read high quality magazines in your time. Check in regularly for the latest editions.
Riverine Herald's well regarded locally produced magazines. They're now online, so you can read them whenever and wherever you like.
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.