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Rugless Digs Deep

Written on the 22 April 2015

The first time George Rugless hopped into a kayak he fell out within seconds. Less than 18 months later, the Scotch College student was selected to represent Australia in the sport at the Olympic Hopes event in Poland in September.

"I thought I'd do all right balance wise, but technique I had no idea and it was horrible and I didn't last very long before I fell in," George, of Marino, says.

"I did a lot of work on my technique and just paddled up 500m and back for a couple of weeks before doing some training." The 15-year-old was selected in the national team after a successful National Sprint Championships in Sydney last month.

"I was pretty confident," George says.

"I knew I'd done all the training back in Adelaide for it and just had to go there and make sure I prepared myself for each race. It was really, really nerve-racking looking at the numbers and points to see where I was placing."

Selection for Olympic Hopes was based on points collected from all events at the nationals, with the top six athletes in George's age bracket making it through. George won the under-16 K2 500m and finished second in the K2 200m, with Luke Morton, of Western Australia. The Year 10 student took up kayaking after selection through the South Australian Sports Institute talent identification program.

"I started training hard and pushing myself in every session," George, who trains 12 times a week, says. "I've improved my technique and spent heaps of time on it."

"My aunty, Margaret Messenger, she was an Olympic swimmer so I kind of look up to her and know that if she's done it, why can't I," he says.


Article by David Penrose. Frist appeared in Mitcham & Hills Messenger, 22 April 2015. Picture: KERYN STEVENS



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