Six medals won by 16-year-old at national canoe sprints
8 Mar 2018
With six medals around his neck and a smile on his face it was easy to see a teen who competed at the national canoe sprints was chuffed with his efforts.
Ryan Clough, who is based in New Plymouth, went to the NZCT 2018 NZ Canoe Sprint Championships in Waikato and won one gold medal, four silver medals and one bronze medal.
The 16-year-old had a good strike rate too considering he only competed in eight races.
Clough, who attends Spotswood College and is part of the Waitara Kayak Club, gained the medals in both individual and group races in the under 16 grade.
This was a prominent competition, Clough said, so he was happy with the results.
"This is the big one of the year."
It hasn't come easily though. Clough trains every day of the week, occasionally multiple times a day, with his kayak club and also the Fitzroy Surf Life Saving Club.
Clough has been involved with surf life saving since a young age. When he turned 14 he decided to give something else a go too.
"I progressed to kayaking.
"I've been doing it for two years," Clough said.
"Last year I got two silvers and two bronzes [at the same competition]."
He thinks his strength is in the individual 500 metre sprint, known as K1 500, which is the race he got his gold metal in at nationals.
Clough said there's a national team that goes to Australia in May, but he would have to qualify for it.
"That's what I'm going for at the moment," he said.
"I want to get to Australia and see where things go from there."
In saying this, Clough isn't sure he'll be able to make a living out of sport but he'd love to carry it on.
"I love the water," he said. "Being in it, around it."
Clough's silver medals came from a 200m and 500m K2 race, a 200m and a 500m K4 race, and his bronze from the 200m K1.