Seipel returns while Littlehales debuts at para-canoe Worlds

Seipel seeks improvement on last year; Littlehales hopes to make a splash at 15. 22 Jul 2015
Susan Seipel

Susan Seipel

By Australian Canoeing

Susan Seipel made her Para-Canoe World Championships debut last year, when she finished sixth in the KL2 200.

But the Australian is feeling more confident this time around, as she is part of the Australia’ para-canoe squad competing in the International Canoe Federation (ICF) Para-Canoe World Championships from 19-23 August in Milan, Italy.

“I definitely learned a lot from my first World Championship experience in Russia,” Seipel said. “I am fitter and stronger than I was this time last year and much better prepared for multiple races, as I will be racing both K1 and V1.”

Consistency has been key for Seipel, who is based at Brisbane Canoeing Club, which provides her with the support and focus she needs to hone in on certain aspects of her training.

“Also, I have done more domestic racing in the last 12 months, so I have been able to practice my race plan under competition conditions,” Seipel said.

This year’s World Championships is doubling as a Paralympic selection event.

Joining the 29-year-old in Milan is teammate and young talent Dylan Littlehales; both are training at the European Training Centre in Varese, Italy, before heading to Milan.

Littlehales will be on the same boat as Seipel last year, as the 15-year-old prepares to make his Worlds debut in August.

“I am excited and looking forward to the experience as not too many people get to do it, certainly not at 15,” Littlehales said.

He was introduced to the sport by his uncle, canoe slalom head coach Mike Druce and has since been working under the coaching prowess of Paul Hutchinson and David Birt. National Para-canoe Coach Andrea King has also overseen his development and earmarked him as a medal contender at Tokyo 2020.

Despite having a long-term focus to his paddling, Littlehales is determined to secure a Paralympic quota spot in Milan this year and push his case for selection for Rio next year.

“I am feeling good and I am feeling confident time wise, I have a competition about a week before I go so that will tell me how I am going,” Littlehales said.