My Sport - Ravi Gurung

By Ciaran Hanvey. 21 Apr 2016

Sport is engraved into the school identity, with many pupils excelling at sport both inside and outside of school. As part of the ‘My Sport’ series, I aim to uncover sporting gems of Five Ways and interview them about their sport and how it plays a part in their lives.

The subject of the first edition is Ravi Gurung, some of you may recall the assembly earlier in the school year where we were left mesmerised by clips of Ravi kayaking. In this interview with him I discuss where his journey started right up to his goals for the future and how you, the readers can get involved with Kayaking. Q:

Firstly, how long have you been Kayaking?

R: I have been Kayaking since September 2009, so in total I have been kayaking for six and a half years.

Q: Am I right in thinking you do not do conventional Kayaking? R: Yes, you are right, I mostly do freestyle kayaking (Play boating), which is done in much smaller boats than in conventional kayaking. In freestyle kayaking I do tricks such as cartwheels, loops and barrel rolls all of which take dedication and perseverance to learn and execute with precision.

Q: How and where do you train? R: I mostly do flat water training on Friday nights at Thimblemill swimming baths in Smethwick. Flat water practice is the same as moving water practice only instead of doing the moves on a feature you do them on flat water. The benefit of flat water training is that you can perfect your technique, particularly of the more advanced moves.

Q: What is your most memorable experience while Kayaking?

R: My most memorable experience was when I was 12, while in Nepal. At the time I was the youngest person ever to paddle the Bhote Koshi River in Nepal. The river is grade 5 which means it has extremely difficult rapids with precise and technically demanding routes which are to be followed. Being the youngest ever paddler to kayak such a difficult section was memorable for me, I don’t think I have paddled a river that has been as difficult since.

Q:Who do you class as your main inspiration?

R: My main inspiration is my dad, I know that sounds ‘wet’ but he was a white water raft guide and is the reason I have been able to paddle so much and progress in the sport as quick as I have done.

Q: What are your goals for the future, What do you want to achieve within the sport?

R: My main goal for kayaking is to win the Himalayan White Water competition in Nepal. Nepal is where my dad is from and is where I have spent a lot of time growing up so winning this competition would mean a lot to me. I would also like to compete in an international event such as the Kayaking World Championships representing Nepal where I hope to win a medal.

Q: What advice do you have for anyone that is interested in taking up the sport? How would they get involved?

R: If anyone wants to get involved with Kayaking the best thing to do would be to join your local kayaking club. For the majority of us that attend Five Ways the easiest way to get involved would be attend the after school club with Mr Bartlem and Dr Squire on Thursday evenings. Alternatively, you could join Birmingham Canoe and Kayak Club, I attend both of these clubs weekly and would be more than happy to teach people the basics of kayaking. It’s a really unique sport and will take you all over the globe, in my 6 years I have progressed from paddling Grade 2 and 3 rivers such as The Dee and Tryweryn, to massive Grade 4 and 5 sections such as the Middle Etive in Scotland, The Ottawa in Canada, The Plattling in Germany and the Seti Khola in Nepal.