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College Olympian

06 October 2014

A Bracknell & Wokingham College student is juggling coursework and canoe paddles as she bids to bring medals back to Berkshire in 2012.

Jess Walker, 19, studies A Levels at the college between major events in her chosen field, canoeing.

Jess represented Team GB for sprint racing in Beijing 2008 aged only 18 and already has gold and silver medals from the Junior European Championships, and two bronze medals from the Junior Marathon Championships.

She said:

Life’s pretty hectic!I’m training three times a day, six days a week right now. It’s too cold to canoe over here, so I’m running, swimming, and going abroad to cross-country ski and get proper practice in warmer water.”

Now taking a Media A Level, Jess is doing her second A Level at the college, fitting in her studies where she can.

“It’s difficult to squeeze the work in around my sport, and it’ll only get worse as 2012 gets closer. I think it’s very important to make the effort though as a sporting career is pretty short, and I’ll need to have something else to do when I can’t compete anymore!

Despite having half a mind on her studies, Jess is still some years away from fully planning life after Olympic competition.

“It’s not an exaggeration how amazing the Olympic Games are. Beijing was incredible and I only want to make sure I get to London 2012. After that I’ll have a year out, and then I’ll be thinking about Rio 2016.

“I want to win the most medals I can – winning one gold with the current crop of Team GB athletes is hardly enough to get noticed anymore, so I want two or three! At the moment I just want to train and take each day, and each year at a time.”

Lee Spindlow, Bracknell & Wokingham College Sports Coordinator, said:

“Part of the college’s sports commitment is to make sure more elite athletes, like Jess, are spotted and given the help to make sport their career.

“I wish Jess lots of luck for her 2012 ambitions and hope the college can boast more Olympians in years to come!”

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