1 May 2009

The Heritage Minister Alun Ffred Jones visited Canolfan Tryweryn, the National White Water Centre on Saturday 25 April to celebrate the centre’s contribution to producing first class canoe champions in North Wales.

The Minister unveiled a plaque that signifies the centre’s role within the Sports Council for Wales’ North Wales Regional Institute of Sport (NWRIS) network which is helping talented athletes in the region to fulfil their potential on the international stage.

The Sports Council for Wales is gathering the region’s finest sporting specialists to inject their expertise and knowledge into the North Wales Institute of Sport’s first class support structure. This provides athletes with access to vital services such as physiotherapy, sports psychology, sports nutrition and strength and conditioning.

The Minister said, "The National Whitewater Centre at Canolfan Tryweryn is a beacon of sporting excellence that is benefitting talented sportspeople from across North Wales and the rest of Wales.

"Canoe Wales and the centre’s staff can be rightly proud to receive this recognition from the Sports Council for Wales and long may they continue to fly the flag for sporting success in North Wales."

Rhys Davies of Bala CC negotiates the slalom race at the National Whitewater CentreAs a backdrop to the plaque unveiling, Canolfan Tryweryn – which is managed by Canoe Wales - hosted a Premier Division Slalom race day, featuring the likes of David Florence who won a silver medal at the Beijing Olympics last summer.

Promising Welsh paddlers competed against the UK’s elite, pushing for selection to the Great Britain junior team. Notably, the event featured Rhys Davies from Bala who in January this year took gold at the Australian Youth Olympics Festival. The Minister cited Davies as a product of Canoe Wales’ success:

"The results of homegrown talent, such as Rhys, clearly demonstrates the centre’s importance for nurturing Welsh talent in so much that they have access to world class whitewater conditions and expert knowledge and guidance," he said.

Canoe Wales Chief Executive, Richard Harvey elaborated on that enviable support structure that is part of the secret of their success.

He said, "Top Welsh paddlers receive coaching support under the Sports Council for Wales' Coach Cymru programme. The National White Water Centre acts as a base for the training camps, race preparation sessions and physical testing of these top paddlers. Paddlers who are coached under this scheme receive not only coaching and training but also strength and conditioning, lifestyle and sports psychology support.

"The centre is one of the few places in Wales that has year round access to international standard water. This fact, together with a good coaching base and club structure in the region, has allowed local paddlers, like Rhys Davies, to emerge as ones to watch in the future."