2012 Bound Paddler Strikes Gold


Flat-water Racing European Junior & U23 Championships

Ada CiganlijLake , Belgrade, Serbia

September 2nd, 2007.


Barry Watkins, of Salmon Leap Canoe Club , took gold in the Junior 500m individual kayak class (K1) in Belgrade this morning. This is Ireland’s first ever gold medal at Championship level in flat-water racing, which is an Olympic discipline since 1936. On Saturday, Barry took bronze in the 1000m K1 class, but was always expected to perform better in his favored event the 500m. The two medal haul by Barry puts him firmly on track for the 2012 Games. Interestingly, his father Howard competed for Ireland in kayak sprint in both the 1972 and 1976 Olympics.


In the 500m final, Barry had been the fastest qualifier with a time of 1.46 seconds. In the final, despite being over a second down at half-way on his British rival, Kristian Reeves, he had the fastest split in the second sector to win with almost a second to spare from Portugese paddler and winner of the 1000m event, Fernando Pimenta. Barrys time of 1 minute 41 seconds is a new Irish Junior record.


His time in the 1000m race, was less than half a second behind the winner. He also established, not just a junior record, but a senior Irish record with a time of 3 minutes 34 seconds.



Barry, 18, hails from Leixlip, Co.Kildare. He trains full-time for both flatwater racing and  marathon canoeing. In 2006, he was fourth in the Junior World Marathon Championships in K2, with Brian Keogh. Again in 2007, he had a fourth place but this time it was at the Junior Sprint Worlds. However, he has the chance of another podium place at the Marathon World Championships next weekend, in Hungary.



The result shows our potential for 2012 and pioneers Irish canoeing at the top level in this event. National coach Gabor Kulcsar has been instrumental in the development of this young paddler, who trains with his son, said that “this is just the start of Barrys career and it looks like he will re-write the record books in Irish canoeing.”


According to two-time Olympian and director of marathon racing in Ireland, Gary Mawer, “Barry has the ability to be World Class in both sprint and marathon events and is a likely medalist next weekend at the Junior World marathon Championships, in Gyor, Hungary.”

Contact: Tadhg MacIntyre 087-8393630


See Links Below:

http://www.kayakec2007.com/ European Championships Flatwater Racing U23/Junior

www.gyor2007.com/ World Marathon Championships, Senior/Junior