Determined Mike earns selection for junior GB World team - The Evesham Observer

Determined Mike earns selection for junior GB World team

Evesham Editorial 10th May, 2017   0

AGAINST all the odds, Evesham teenager Mike Dickinson has been selected to represent Great Britain in canoe slalom at the Junior World Championship in Bratislava this summer.

When he was still very young, Mike had to undergo open heart surgery twice in order to overcome life-threatening congenital heart defects.

After a shaky start, it became imperative he had a sport to keep him active and to strengthen his heart. It was an obvious choice for him to start kayaking as his dad was racing competitively and had already started a local canoeing and kayaking club in Evesham to support those wanting to get involved in the sport.

Despite his early health issues Mike thrived, paddling at the local sites on the River Avon around Evesham as he just loved the exhilaration of the white water and showed no fear.

In recent years Mike has achieved a standard that has earned him places in the British Canoeing regional and then national training squads – a fantastic opportunity but which requires travelling to the British Canoeing facility at Nottingham.

Typically this is undertaken three times during the week straight from school, as well as gym and flat water sessions at Workman Bridge in Evesham. His direct competitors live right next to their respective white water courses and can access them every day with minimal inconvenience.

In addition to the weekly training, Mike has spent his weekends over the winter travelling down to the 2012 Olympic course in London to take advantage of the exclusive training sessions with British Canoeing on the site where the 2017 GB selection races would take place.

The selection races took place over three days of the Easter weekend using two different formats.

The day one race result was the better of two runs. Mike’s first run down the course left him with a lot of work to do and on run two he responded to the pressure and pulled out all the stops with a fast and clean run to win the first race.

This fantastic start to his GB selection campaign put him at the top of the junior leaderboard.

Day two arrived and was run to the international format. The first run was for qualification with only six junior boats progressing to the final, so no second chances and no room for mistakes.

A conservative approach to the first run saw him just off the pace, with fractions of a second knocking him back to ninth junior which meant he had to sit out the rest of the day with effectively a no score.

Selection overall was decided on the best two results from three days of racing so it was all to play for in the final race.

Day three dawned dry and sunny with little wind which meant perfect conditions as the atmosphere built in anticipation of the final race. Again run to international format, Mike laid it on the line during qualification with the best performance of his life to not only be first junior but also place seventh in the senior team qualification – a great achievement at 17 years of age.

With a race one win and a race three win in qualification, a safe result in the final put him comfortably into the Great Britain team and his qualification performance on day three also earned him a place as a reserve in the U23 GB team.

In addition to the GB selection races, this season’s domestic Premier Division races in Scotland and Wales have resulted in Mike ranking not only top junior in the country, but also tenth in the senior category.

If you are interested in supporting Mike, visit

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