Three years after making one of those life-changing decisions that don’t always go the right way, Australian canoe slalom paddler Tim Anderson believes he can now safely say he did the right thing.
Bearing down on the end of his teenage years, Anderson had to decide how much he really wanted a career as an international paddler, and if he was prepared to make the sacrifices to get there.
Earlier this month the 22-year-old snatched K1 victory at the Australian National Slalom Championships, relegating Olympian Lucien Delfour to the silver medal position.
“I was ecstatic with my performance at Nationals, mostly because it showed how far I’ve come since deciding to move to Penrith,” Anderson said.
“It’s a nice feeling to know that I didn’t waste three years of my life getting nowhere.
“This year I want to get myself onto the senior team and make the semis in every World Cup. Going forward, I want to make a World Cup final before the Tokyo Olympics, that being my highest goal so far.”
Anderson will get a very good feel for his progress this weekend, when he takes on a world-class field that includes the Rio gold medallist, Great Britain’s Joe Clarke, at the Oceania Championships in Auckland.
Frenchman Mathieu Biazizzo, the Czech Republic’s Ondrej Tunka and Delfour add sparkle to the K1 field, giving Anderson extra reason to feel a few butterflies on race day.
“I am a pretty nervous paddler, so I try to go a little lighter on brekky on the morning of a race if I’m extra nervous, and avoid spending too much time at the course pre-run,” he said.
“This year I have been sticking to training as normal, but I have been trying to keep myself busy in other ways; getting into the mountains more, working and studying.
“Hopefully I can continue racing well this weekend, I’ll be aiming for the final and from there we’ll see what happens.”
Anderson joins a strong Australian team at the Oceania Championships, which also double as the first qualification race for national team selection for this year’s World Cups and World Championships.
Racing begins this morning (Saturday), and continues through until Monday.