Charlie Copeland is heading to Germany.
Charlie Copeland is heading to Germany. John Mccutcheon

Paddler tipped to impress at worlds

AGE may be a barrier when outstanding teenage kayaker Bill Bain takes on the planet's best young paddlers at the junior world championships in Germany this month.

Sunshine Coast-based Bain, 17, will compete in the blue ribbon K1 500m and K1 1000m events against competitors who are a year older than him.

Despite that age gap, his coach believes Bain can land a medal.

“He's a superstar,” Peter Petho said yesterday.

“The only big question mark is he's a year younger than the oldest competitors in that category.

“I wish it was next year, but he still has a good chance.

“I'm looking forward to the (2012 London) Olympic Games. Eighteen-year-olds usually don't go to the Olympics, but Bill can do anything.”

Bain leaves tomorrow for the 2011 ICF Junior Canoe Sprint World Championships, which are to be held in Brandenburg, Germany, from July 29-31.

He will be joined in Germany by another exciting Coast-based 17-year-old, Charlie Copeland.

Petho described Bain and Copeland, who also has an age disadvantage, as Australia's best hopes.

Copeland has already been selected for the K2 200m, but will compete in a final selection race before the championships for a K1 200m spot as well.

Petho said Copeland went into the national titles in Penrith earlier this year underdone because of injury and missed automatic selection in the K1 200m.

“He had a broken leg just before the nationals, so he wasn't 100%, but he is now,” the coach said.

“So, he will have a crack at doing the single.”

Petho said it was hard to predict how Copeland and his Brisbane-based partner Steve Giraud would fare in the K2 200m.

Bain and Copeland will be joined later in Germany by four other Coast-based competitors, Coco Howcroft (K1 500m), Jordan Lee Jones, who will most likely compete in the K4 500m, and double partners Tara McAleenan and Ann Sophie Sullivan (K2 200m).

Petho described Howcroft, 17, as the best single paddler in the country and a good medal chance.

“She's like the boys. So much so that now she has got another coach besides me, (Olympic kayaking gold medallist) Clint Robinson,” he said.

The Coast will also have a healthy representation at the senior world championships in Hungary in August. Travelling to Hungary will be Coral Darbishire, Alyce Burnett, Rachel Levett and Hailey McGinty.


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