Lewis races to victory in top regatta

Lewis Fletcher
Lewis Fletcher
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The Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020 is the target for Linlithgow-based paddler Lewis Fletcher.

Lewis (20) hasjust claimed his first solo gold medal and was hailed British under-23 champion over 200 metres following his victory at the National Watersports Centre at Nottingham earlier this month.

But he is regretting the 
fact that, over the season, his performances have failed to find him a place at the European Championships which start this weekend.

Said Lewis: ‘‘It was my most significant win to date and my first individual championship victory so I’m really, really pleased with this result..

‘‘I’ve had bronze and silver medals in a team boat but this is just the motivation I need,

‘‘Hopefully, it is onwards and upwards from here.

‘‘There’s no kayaking at the Commonwealth games but it is an Olympic sport.

‘‘2016 in Rio de Janeiro seems a bit too soon but, hopefully, I’lll be in contention for a place in the 2020 squad at Tokyo.’’

Lewis, a member of Linlithgow Kayak Club, has been kayaking since he was nine years old and following in his father’s wake.

However, it was just five or six years ago that he really started to take the sport seriously.

Following his studies in sport coaching, Lewis has taken up a part-time coaching post with the Scottish Canoe Union and this allows him time to hone his skills on the Union Canal where he takes full advantage of the facilities at UICA Ratho, the massive 
indoor climbing complex and fitness centre.

‘‘I’ve been able to really concentrate on my training with the Scottish national coach and have two or three session on the Union Cannal up to six days a week,’’ he added.

A spokesman for Linlithgow Kayak Club said: ‘‘Lewis has never had a GB championship win before despite being one of the most experienced of our current squad of paddlers in Linlithgow.

‘‘He is a great club member and role model for aspiring young athletes and his peers.

‘‘He deserve a bit of recognition for this great achievement. The club is very proud of this significant victory.’’