St Neots canoeist secures £3,000 grant to help Olympic dream

Blake Allsop

Blake Allsop - Credit: Archant

An Olympic hopeful in canoe slalom has been boosted along the tricky course to the top with a £3,000 grant from St Neots Town Council.

Blake Allsop, from St Neots, who is on the verge of making it big in the world of canoeing.

Blake Allsop, from St Neots, who is on the verge of making it big in the world of canoeing. - Credit: Archant

Blake Allsop, from St Neots, has just broken into the top 100 in the country after a top 10 finish in a Scotland Division One slalom at the end of August.

“The grant will help a lot with travelling costs, racing and kit,” said Allsop, explaining that paddles don’t come cheap – costing up to £300 – and a boat made to fit can be up to £1,500.

“I’m racing in my final year of juniors. I’d love to make it into the GB squad one day, and maybe even the Olympics,” said Allsop, making it clear that Rio is not a possibility but maybe the Tokyo Games in 2020 are a realistic target.

Allsop certainly trains at a perfect venue for an Olympic hopeful. Six times a week he makes the journey down to the Lee Valley White Water Centre in Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire – home to the London 2012 slalom events.

Allsop, 17, is currently a member of the Southern Super Regional Squad which is supported by GB Canoeing.

Despite only competing in slalom for a relatively short time, Allsop is making great strides towards joining the UK’s slalom elite.

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He has also received support on top of the town council grant from his employer, McColl’s Newsagents.

GB Canoeing’s Shaun Pearce said: “Judging by his latest result, this support is already having an impact and can only bode well for him and his aspirations of promotion to the Premier Division (Top 70 in the country) and the GB under-23 team.”

Pearce was also quick to praise Allsop’s recent form and mentioned that this recent funding will go a long way in terms of Allsop achieving his future goals.

“With three races left this season, a big final push from Blake could well see him achieve the goal of promotion to Premier Division by the end of this season. This is certainly what we will be working towards in training over the next few weeks,” said Pearce.

St Neots town clerk Ed Reilly said: “The grant was to recognise that he is someone from St Neots who is very talented and very special and can achieve an awful lot if he gets the right help. I’m sure that all the taxpayers in the town will be rooting for him and hoping he does succeed.”