Jake Donaghey, Kevin Crisp & Alex Haas
Courier Mail Article, 23/04/2012
Photograph:Paul Guy - The Courier Mail
Robert Craddock from the Courier Mail interviews Olympic bound canoeists Jake Donaghey, Alex Haas and their coach Kevin Crisp.
WHEN Brisbane Nudgee Junior College teacher Kevin Crisp wrote in the school newsletter six years ago that he was looking for students to take up canoeing, he said he wanted to unearth a talented boy for the 2016 Olympics. Instead, he got two, for the 2012 London Games.
Jake Donaghey and Alex Haas, both 17, beat the deadline by four years and are partners in the C2 1000. Donaghey will also contest the individual C1 1000.
It's a good habit for any schoolboy to turn up well before the bell, but only the most committed arrive four years early.
After being discovered at Nudgee Junior, Haas now attends Gregory Terrace while Donaghey believes he is the first Brisbane Grammar student to win Olympic selection while still at the school.
They rise between 4am and 5am to cram in 10 or 12 weekly training sessions amid their final-year studies at school.
Crisp is still their coach and rightfully proud of going the long journey with them.
"Their potential developed over time - I am extremely proud of them," Crisp said.
"In the newsletter we said we were targeting the 2016 Olympics so they have done well to get there early.
"Last year at the senior world titles it became clear they could make London."
Haas drew deep inspiration from watching Gold Coast's Ken Wallace win Olympic kayak gold in Beijing in 2008.
"He was like us in that he did quite a bit of work by himself outside the system and I remember talking to Jake and we decided we would try for London," Haas said.
A promising cricketer and rugby player, Donaghey says he has no regrets about taking a different path.
"The other sports had to go. But I think I have made the right decision. I was an OK rugby player but on the water, I have found my calling.
"It has been a whirlwind couple of years. We realised we were a shot at the Olympics so we put our heads down and went for it.
"You have to give up certain things. It is a choice we have made. No one has forced us into it. It is not a sacrifice. All your mates are out doing normal things that 17-year-olds do, but I got to cut back because I have to be at training in the morning.
"Schoolwork does suffer a bit. Brisbane Grammar has been really good supporting me. It has been tough, but it has been a good journey."
The canoe sprint competition will be held at Eton Dorney, one of the world's top courses, in a famous location close to Windsor Castle.
It beats Year 12 assignments, that's for sure.
|The Courier Mail article|
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