Alice battles back from injury to secure a place in Euro squad

Alice Haining in action.
Alice Haining in action.

Canoe slalom ace Alice Haining is busily preparing for some rapid international competition in Europe this summer.

The top paddler from Galashiels has been selected for the British U23 squad and is also set to race for the GB Canoe Slalom team.

The Junior and U23 European Championships will be in Hohenlimburg, Germany, at the end of August.

Then it’s on to Ivrea in Italy to race as a senior at a World Cup event in September.

It’s been something of a personal triumph for Alice to recapture this standard, as she was sidelined by injury for a lengthy spell.

But the determination and desire to make the selectors notice her once again has paid off for the 23-year-old, who secured her place in the squad with an impressive points haul after a three-day race series in London.

Alice also works as a canoeing academy coach, helping youngsters aged 11-15.

She first clambered into a canoe aged nine at Selkirk High School, where her dad worked, and she still paddles for the school’s canoe club. “I started there and absolutely loved it,” she said.

Alice chose canoeing in favour of running at the age of 16 and soon came to the attention of Scottish development coaches, who helped her improve her flat racing and slalom ability. She said she loved canoeing because of its variety: “There are so many different combinations in the sport. It give you different challenges every day.”

Alice finished a very impressive fifth in the 2012 Junior World Championships in Wausau, Wisconsin, but a rib injury in 2014 forced her to miss out on two years of selection before she recovered her full strength.

“I trained for the last six months on my own, so I obviously wanted it,” she added.

Alice practises six days a week and fits in hill walking and – with care – mountain biking, as alternative forms of exercise. “I am trying to stay fit and strong for the competitions just now and just focus on my own training and processes,” she said.