Tokyo drift

Tuesday November 12, 2019 Written by Published in Paddling
Ella Nicholas, Jane Nicholas and Leon Mussell at Nikao beach yesterday. 19111112 Ella Nicholas, Jane Nicholas and Leon Mussell at Nikao beach yesterday. 19111112

Kayakers hoping to represent the Cook Islands at 2020 Olympics.


Jane Nicholas follows her Olympian siblings in donning the Cook Islands colour. Her sister Ella is double Olympian and 2016 Olympic flagbearer and her brother Bryden is 2016 Olympian. Anneka Brown reports.

Jane Nicholas, 27, is preparing for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after qualifying at the Canoe Slalom World Championships for the Cook Islands.

She previously represented New Zealand for 10 years but she’s extremely proud to be representing the Cook Islands, a switch she made just a year ago to pursue her Olympic dream.

She’s spending some time with her family in Rarotonga before she heads back to Auckland for full time training on Manukau’s white water course, similar to the course in Tokyo.

“If I learn the course really well hopefully when I race in the Olympics, I’ve got the best shot,” said Nicholas.

Nicholas who became a canoe slalom athlete when she was just twelve years old, said the Olympic competition will be really tough. “It’s a bit daunting.”

However, Nicholas isn’t alone, her sister Ella Nicholas, 28, who has paddled for the Cook Islands for 13 years in the K1 class is seeking Olympic qualifications too.

She missed the sport for a long time after competing in the the Rio Olympics in 2016, so now she’s pursuing a spot to qualify for the 2020 Oceania Olympic qualifiers for canoe slalom in January next year.

Another C1 athlete representing the Cook Islands, Leon Mussell, 35, is aiming to qualify for the Olympics in the 2020 canoe sprint Oceania Championships in February.

Mussell flew the Cook Islands flag in Hungary for 2019 ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships in Hungary earlier this year.

“It’s something I’ve always aspired to do … to be able to represent the Cook Islands, keep my passion for the sport and be on the world stage is quite an honour.”


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