To help lift the performance of local kayakers, Whanganui Triathlon & Multiport Club’s Kayaking division (WTMC) realised it would have to attract a dedicated, professional coach to the region. After successfully applying for an NZCT grant, WTMC was able to source the right coach for the job – and they found their man – in Hungary!
As a consequence, Gabor Szabo, a three times World Champion K4 1000m and K2 1000m medallist and International Canoe Federation Development Coach, has moved to Whanganui and taken on this important coaching role. His arrival was celebrated last weekend in a traditional Kiwi manner (with a BBQ and speeches) on the banks of Whanganui River.
Although Gabor will be based in Whanganui, this is a regional position which will see him coach paddlers in New Plymouth too. The idea is that he will help with the development of the New Zealand Junior and U23 team members based in the lower North Island.
WTMC’s kayak coach Brian Scott explains the plan:
“We’re lucky enough to have some great kayaking talent emerging through the ranks at the moment,” says Brian. “We needed to ensure we could give these young paddlers the best possible chance of achieving their potential, but we simply couldn’t put any more pressure on our existing volunteer coaches, who already commit 50 hours a week or more to the sport.
“The NZCT grant made it possible for us to employ a dedicated coach who is solely focussed on increasing our paddlers’ and our existing coaches’ capacity,” Brian says. “Our long term vision is very exciting. We want to help our current New Zealand Juniors and U23 squad members achieve podium finishes at international events. And we’re confident Gabor will help us make this vision a reality.
“We are very pleased to have him on board and hope he enjoys his new lifestyle living here in Whanganui.”