At 15, Dylan Littlehales will make his debut at the Paracanoe World Championships in Milan next month.
A remarkable achievement when you consider he had his first training session just a year ago.
“I am excited and looking forward to the experience as not too many people get to do it, certainly not at 15,” Littlehales said.
He was introduced to the sport by is Uncle, canoe slalom Head Coach Mike Druce and has since been working under the coaching prowess of Paul Hutchinson and David Birt at Avoca.
National Paracanoe Coach Andrea King has also overseen his development and has earmarked him as a medal contender at the 2020 Paralympics in Japan.
“Andrea said that the top goal for me is Tokyo, that is where they want me to be at my absolute peak and everything else is just a lead up,” Littlehales said.
Despite having a long term focus to his paddling, Littlehales is determined to secure a Paralympic quota in Milan this year and push his case for selection for Rio next year.
“I am aiming for top six because it is qualification for the Paralympics,” Littlehales said.
Despite being selected in the first Paracanoe squad, Littlehales will depart with the second team on August 4, allowing him a few more weeks to concentrate on his year 10 studies at Kariong Mountains High School.
Littlehales will also compete at the Penrith State Sprint Series next week, allowing him one final competitive race prior to departure.
“I am feeling good and I am feeling confident time wise, I have a competition about a week before I go so that will tell me how I am going”, Littlehales said.
Once touching down in Europe, the Australian paracanoe squad will based themselves at the European Training Centre in Varese before heading to Milan.
The ICF sprint World Championships will be held from 19 to 23 August.
By Australian Canoeing