Bagnall on the rise

JUST four years after taking up kayaking competitively, 16-year-old Shellharbour athlete Jayde Bagnall is showing all the hallmarks of becoming a champion in the sport.

The Warilla-Barrack Point Surf Life Saving Club member only attempted the sport as an add-on to the club's wave-ski.

However, she is now Australian champion in her age group after taking out two individual gold medals and six medals overall at the recent national titles in Adelaide.

"I won gold in the K1 1000-metre and K1 500-metre, silver in the K1 200-metre and K4 4000-metre and bronze in the K4 500-metre and 200-metre," Bagnall said.

"I was really happy with the results but it was a lot of races.

"The competition was held over five days - it was very long, very hot and very exhausting.

"By the time you throw in heats as well as the heat, it was hard work. The idea was to win your heat and go straight to the final, and I managed to do that in everything apart from the K1 200."

Apart from the success at her first nationals, she also won the K1 1000-500 double at the Oceania titles at Penrith and clinched silver in the K1 200.

Her success at the nationals has also seen her included as part of the Olympic Hopes squad and she is currently ranked No.1 in Australia in both the K1 1000 and 500.

She will now prepare for the next round of the Grand Prix series kayak sprints on the Sunshine Coast in July, before her biggest challenge.

"I am really looking forward to being part of Australia's team to compete in Slovakia later this year, where I will be part of a six-person team and will get to compete in my best events, so it should be great," she said.

Apart from the kayaking, Bagnall also loves competing on the boards from Warilla-Barrack Point, having won six state medals, the last in 2012.

She said her success is largely due to the work of her coaches.

"There are so many people who have helped, particularly my kayaking coach, Terry Prosser, who has been amazing, while the support of people like Craig Burke and the whole team at Warilla Surf Club [is great]."

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