Bucks kayaker in the groove ahead of World Champs

Bucks Free Press: Magnus Gregory and Luke Harding at the European Championships. Magnus Gregory and Luke Harding at the European Championships.

LUKE Harding will give up two years on most of his rivals when he paddles for Great Britain at the Canoe World Championships in Hungary later this month.

The John Hampden Grammar School pupil has only just finished his GCSEs but faces another stern examination when he goes to Szeged.

The 16-year-old will team up with Magnus Gregory, Ed Haws and Sam Kirchstein to take on rivals up to 18 years old in the K4 1,000m.

He said: “It will be the biggest event I’ve ever raced in and I’m really excited.

“I’ve got this year and another two years at this level, so we’re going to be one of the youngest crews there. It will be hard, but we’ve got the times to get into the A Final and we’ll be a bit disappointed if we don’t do it.”

Harding joins up with the rest of the GB squad in Hungary for a pre-Championship camp, but has every reason to be confident despite the odds.

He believes a month of intensive training will pay off in Hungary and there was evidence of that last weekend at the July Regatta in Nottingham, when Harding enjoyed his best ever set of results.

He finished second behind Gregory in the junior 500m and 1,000m and then added two more silvers in the senior K2 500m and 1,000m before winning gold in the K4 1,000m.

He said: “It’s been hard training everyday, and sometimes more than once a day, while studying for exams.

“But I think it went alright. I hope to get all As or A stars.”

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