Great Britain canoeing coach Eric Farrell was centre stage at the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games last night when he appeared mid-way through the evening’s entertainment to take the coach’s oath on behalf of all coaches at the XXX Olympiad.
Eric coaches Tim Brabants, who races for and trains at Royal. Tim is hoping to repeat his success of Beijing when he won gold in the K1 1,000m event.
Afterwards, Eric said: “I feel extremely honoured to have been chosen to do this. It is incredible I still can’t quite believe it. I felt very nervous, but really proud for canoeing. It was an awesome experience and one I will remember for the rest of my life.”
“We are at the point in our sport where we are starting to make a real impact winning medals regularly at major Games and we have a fantastic team again this time, so hopefully we won’t be considered a minority sport any more.”
Eric was awarded an MBE for his services to canoeing last year. He’s spent a lifetime in the sport – having joined Royal Canoe Club in the summer of 1969 when he was 12 – initially being refused membership on account of his young age.
Helped by several of Royal’s coaches and club officers, however, including Frank Russell, George Richardson and Mark Greville-Giddings (Gees), he and fellow paddler Trevor Hunter prospered at Royal, making their way swiftly through the ranks. The pair made it to the World Championships finals in K2 500m in the late 1970s.
On receiving his MBE, Eric said: “Canoeing is a fantastic sport and hopefully this award will raise the profile of the sport that I love so much.”
Check out this article from 2010 on the Sprintwise blog on Eric and his coaching relationship with Tim Brabants – it’s well worth a read.
And here’s a write-up on the GB Canoeing website.
(Picture credit: GB Canoeing)