The Phoenix Canoe Club, based on the Welsh Harp reservoir in north London, was successful in landing a dream role in the Olympic Games as Young Games Makers (YGM). The YGM scheme was set up to offer 16-18 year-olds the chance to work on the Olympics sites, with 2,000 young people already landing places.
The team of eight young people and two leaders from the Phoenix Canoe Club will be providing the YGM Technology Team at the Lea Valley Whitewater Course for the canoe slalom over the full five days of the events. The Technology Team provides the critical timing, scoring and results service for the competitions, so the YGMs will be among the first to find out the official outcomes of each event and will be responsible for printing and distributing them.
The team was selected from its membership by the two leaders and had a team building training session before the official selection day at the Olympics Headquarters in January. Most of the team have already paddled on the superb facilities at the Lea Valley venue either in a kayak or raft before it was shut to the public in April to start preparations for the games.
Team Leader Johann Meeke said, “It will be a fantastic opportunity for the young people at the club. To be right there in the heart of the Olympics is going to be a brilliant experience”. Phil Atkinson, Assistant Leader and Club Chairman added “We were lucky that we were given a sport that we actually do and are passionate about because we can use our knowledge to really make the most out of it.”
One of the YGMs, Jai Padhiar has also been selected to carry the Olympic torch by the London Borough of Brent. Jai was nominated by his father to carry the flame, due to his extensive fundraising efforts for various charities including Great Ormond Street Hospital and Alzheimer’s Research. Jai, 16 attends Kingsbury High School and is a member of the Phoenix Canoe Club said, “I couldn’t believe it when I found out that I had been nominated. It was such an honour, but to actually be selected and be given the chance to carry the torch is a dream come true.”
Johann Meeke will also be representing the Phoenix Canoe Club in the Queens Diamond Jubilee Pageant on the Thames on 3rd June. He will be paddling a kayak as part of the 1000 vessel flotilla.
The Phoenix Canoe Club offers kayaking, canoeing and bell boating to its club members, schools and youth groups in the North London area. The Phoenix Canoe Club is affiliated to the British Canoe Union and operates a progressive programme of training & activities including river trips, whitewater and surf training. www.phoenixcanoeclub.co.uk