Bury St Edmunds’ Jennifer McGaley is celebrating after winning a silver medal at the European Freestyle Championships last month.
The young kayaker travelled to Bratislava in Slovakia three weeks ago, with her father Dan, who also competed in the prestigious competition.
After competing at selections in Nottingham at the end of last year, the 17-year-old secured her place on the Team GB Canoe Freestyle team and surprised many to get through to the finals of the Womens K1 category.
McGalley travelled to Eastern Europe a week early and was fully prepared when the preliminary heats began.
The County Upper School student was placed in second for the finals and despite her competitors closing in quickly on the podium positions, held her nerve to complete near-perfect moves and bag the silver medal for Team GB.
Against tough oppositon, the junior competitor claimed the silver medal, while her dad reached the semi-finals of the men’s category.
And Dan could not hide his delight at his daughter’s achievements, pinpointing a chance meeting that helped take Jennifer’s training to the next level.
“A chance meeting with Adam Barker of Sports Aid and Warren Smyth of Abbeycroft Leisure resulted in Jen joining the Bury Leisure Centre Sports Ambassador programme,” explained Dan.
“This programme has allowed Jen to access the gym facilities at the centre. But most importantly to use the pool for training during the cold winter months and make the most of her time.”
McGaley has also secured a place on the national Team Squarerock team as well as already being a member of the Sudbury Canoe Club.
“Jen is going into A-Levels at County Upper School this year as deputy head girl,” explained Dan.
“But with the support of headteacher Vicky Neale, is now looking ahead to selections for the 2015 World Championships in Canada next August.”