A teenage canoeist has been selected for Team GB three years after qualifying at at an elite level.
Richmond School and Sixth Former College student Daisy Cooil overcame the effects of a severe chest infection to be selected for the national junior squad.
It marked the culmination of a journey of resilience and determination that began when she was 14 when she first qualified but was ineligible because she was too young to be part of the British squad.
Now 17 and still at the top of her game, the sixth former will compete for Team GB at the World Championships in Ivrea, Italy, in July and the European Championships in Bratislava in August.
Also a competitive kayaker, her illness left her too sapped of energy to also qualify at the discipline’s selection event in Nottingham.
“After waiting all this time, it doesn’t feel real,” said Daisy, of Aske, Richmond. “I had been so ill in the run up and been off school all week. It helped that my coach for the selection was the 2012 British gold medal winner Etienne Stott but I didn’t have enough left to qualify in the kayak event as well as I was exhausted.”
Daisy trains every day, either on the water at the Tees Barrage, Stockton, Nottingham or the former Olympic course at Lee Valley, London, or in the gym.
Coached by Ian Raspin, she has only been canoeing for the past five years but is already ranked fifth in the country.
“I’m really looking forward to competing for my country and am hoping to make the finals and finish in the top ten,” she said.
“The dream is to go to the Olympics. I’ll only be 19 for Tokyo, which is young for a canoeist, so 2024 might be more realistic.”
Head of Richmond Sixth Form Leslie Richardson said: “We are so thrilled for Daisy who thoroughly deserves her Team GB selection.
“The combination of her raw talent, that has now been recognised, coupled with the elite coaching she is receiving gives us all reason to be incredibly optimistic about her future in the sport.”