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It's a very tough time but Paris 2024 my major aim: Cochrane



Jake Cochrane

Jake Cochrane

Brian Thompson

Jake Cochrane

Northern Ireland's leading canoeist Jake Cochrane was set up for a big year on the water - however, his plans have now had to be shelved due to Covid-19.


The 24-year-old is based in Nottingham, where he trains twice a day, and was due to compete in several major canoeing Championships in 2020.

Cochrane, who is currently back in Northern Ireland during lockdown, competes in the C1 slalom, which features a one-bladed paddle, and is World No.73 despite having only taken up the sport in his late teens.

But his hopes of kicking on in 2020 have been dashed by the pandemic, leaving him in a frustrating holding period for now.

"I had five World Cups this season and the European Championships. The Euros were due to be in London in two weeks but have been cancelled," he said.

"When I got back I was able to train for a couple of days before lockdown. I've been training as much as I can at home, doing gym work mostly. I've got pull-up bars, so I'm making do with lots of lighter weights, resistance bands and stuff like that."

Having been introduced to canoeing while with scouts in his late teens, Cochrane fell in love with the sport and rose through the local ranks after being spotted by the Canoeing Association of NI at a Talent ID day.

"I spent a year and a half in Northern Ireland and then after I finished school I wanted to push it on, so I moved to Nottingham where I spent a year just working on training before completing a degree at Nottingham Trent University alongside my training," he explained.

"I wasn't great when I moved over, but being on the water every day there over the last six years has made a huge difference in being able to progress.

"A lot of guys start when they're around 10 so I've felt like I've been on the back foot but I've put a lot of effort into it and improved in senior competitions, consistently making semi-finals."

Now the future looks bright for the Jordanstown man, who is currently rehabbing an elbow injury which flared up again in January, with the ultimate aim being reaching the Olympic Games in Paris in 2024.

"Looking forward to 2024 preparations, that's how I base the next four years of my training. But I have three World Championships between now and then, five World Cups every year and the Europeans each year," said Cochrane. "I was getting back to getting onto the water twice a day again and this has halted that, which is a shame. But I'm making the best of it."

Belfast Telegraph

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