GB Freestyle set to take on first home World Championships in 30 years

The wait is nearly over for the GB Freestyle team, as they prepare to take on a home World Championships for the first time in 30 years, with Nottingham set to host the 2022 ICF competition between 27 June-2 July.

A 28-strong British squad has been selected for the event, with 20 nations taking part from across the globe to battle it out in nine events as they search for  that coveted World Championship title.

This is the first time Great Britain has held the event in over 30 years, with The Bitches in South Wales playing host back in 1991, and athletes will now descend on the world class venue at Holme Pierrepont to claim the 2022 titles.

Britain’s international team has been training hard on the Nottingham feature in preparation for the event, with excitement for a home World Championships growing.

With six days of freestyle in store, the free-to-attend competition will deliver a festival of paddlesport with the opportunity to get on the water yourself, alongside watching the pros in action.

Leading the way in the women’s kayak event is two-time junior World Champion Ottilie Robinson-Shaw. Ottilie has dominated the junior competitions over a number of years since winning her first title in 2017, and the Worlds in Nottingham will be her first as a senior athlete.

She has had recent international success after winning the European Championship title in 2021 and will be looking to reach the podium on home waters.

Ottilie will be taking on three events across the week-long competition, with her also taking on the women’s squirt competition and the new women’s C1 event, making its debut in the 2022 World Championships.

Joining Ottile in the women’s kayak will be Lowri Davies, who has previous international success, claiming the European Championships crown, as well as six British titles.

Taking on her fifth international season, Heidi Walsh will be taking on Nottingham alongside three time World Championship athlete Emma Witherford, Kim Aldred and 2021 junior European Championship silver medallist Jen Leal, who makes her team as a senior.

In the men’s kayak, two-time junior bronze medallist Harry Price will line up on home waters, having recently won the British Championships last year.

2021 Junior European Champion Toby Marlow will make his first step up to the seniors in Nottingham, having also recently claimed the British Championship.

2011 World Champion James Bebbington takes his place on the team once again, having represented GB since his time as a junior in 2004.

Local freestyle athlete Rob Crowe and Gav Barker will also compete in the men’s kayak team again, having previously represented GB at multiple World and European Championships.

In the men’s juniors, the trio of Timmy Hill, Ben Higson and James Ward make up the team. It will be Timmy’s first World Championships, whilst Ben will take on his second having competed in Sort 2019.

Current Junior women’s British Champion Isabella Wormall, Poppy Ward and Niamh Macken will all take on the junior women’s kayak, with their event getting underway on Monday afternoon.

A regular on the team, James Ibbotson lines up in the men’s canoe off the back of a fifth place finish at the 2021 European Championships. He will be joined by Matt Stephenson who is also a recent finalist and just narrowly missed the European Championship podium in fourth. International regular Adam Ramadan completes the trio lining up in Nottingham.

Joining Ottilie in the women’s canoe on its World CHampionship debut will be Rebekah Green. Until recently, the Lee Valley paddler had only competed in kayak, but has made the switch to C1 for this event.

Tamyn McConchie will also make up the C1 team, as she takes up her place in her first World Championships in both this event as well as  the women’s squirt boat event.

Connor Proud and Jolyon Evans are the duo taking on the open canoe, with the pair looking to make their mark on the event which gets underway on Monday.

In the men’s squirt, two time World Championship silver medallist and twice European Champion Alex Edwards leads the way. He will be joined by 2019 World Championship bronze medallist Sam Wilson and Jamie Austen.

Completing the team will be Layla Al-Riyami, who joins Ottilie and Tamsyn in the women’s squirt boat. Tamsyn has been paddling for five years and was inspired into the boat by Ottilie only a couple of years ago.

To read more about the full team, click here

The full competition schedule can be found here which gets underway alongside a live stream of all the action.