Olympic dream remains alive for Wakefield’s Chloe

Chloe Bracewell believes her partnership with Afton Fitzhenry will go from strength to strength, as the duo maintained their bid for a spot at this summer’s Olympics with a strong performance at the sprint and paracanoe national selection event in Nottingham.

Friday, 23rd April 2021, 8:00 am
Paddling to success: Chloe Bracewell and Afton Fitzhenry. Picture: A Edmonds

Wakefield paddler Bracewell teamed up with her Northern Irish counterpart for the first time since 2016 on her first outing on the water in 18 months, with the pair producing a time of 2:04.91 in the women’s C2 500m.

That was enough to earn them a place at May’s ICF European selection event in Szeged, Hungary, where qualification for the Games will be on the line.

And despite admitting she had a few nerves to contend with after such a long time away from competition, Bracewell is hopeful the momentum gained from their latest outing will stand them in good stead going forward.

“It’s been ages since we raced at all and it’s the first time we’ve competed together for even longer, so it was quite nerve-racking beforehand,” she said.

“But it was great to get back out there and get the practice in. I think it’s a huge stepping stone moving ahead now.

“Hungary’s obviously a big opportunity for us, but we’re looking at it as if we’ve got nothing to lose. We’re just going to go over there and see what happens.”

Although she is still reacquainting herself with Fitzhenry as a partner, Bracewell believes their strong relationship away from the canoeing arena is key to their fluidity in the boat.

Having got up and running in such impressive style at Holme Pierrepont the qualified doctor is looking forward to making further strides behind the scenes before that all-important Szeged showdown.

She added: “I’ve been unwell for a chunk of the run-in to this regatta and Afton has been really supportive.

“We’ve got a really strong togetherness inside and outside of racing, she’s all I could ask for from a partner and I’m looking forward to continuing to work with her in the future.”

British Canoeing is the national governing body for paddlesport in the UK.