ROYAL Marines cadet Alex Ludlow is representing the GB Freestyle Kayaking Team at the European Championships this week.
The 16-year-old, who attends Redditch and Bromsgrove Sea Cadets, is currently in Bratislava, Slovakia, for the tournament which starts today (Thursday) and finishes on Sunday.
Prior to the championships, Ludlow said: “I’m definitely looking forward to it, it’s my first real international competition and it’s my first time travelling abroad.
“It’s been a real pleasure having Sea Cadets help me on my first one.”
Ludlow, who joined the cadets as a junior, made the squad for the first time last year.
“You get trials every year, but I’ve always had to train myself because money has been a bit tight and personal training is expensive,” he said.
“But last year I went for it and I got into the squad, and then I started speaking to more people and bouncing off them.
“This year I went for it again and it paid off.”
The squads are made up of five members who train with the team but don’t compete, one reserve and three competitors.
This year Ludlow skipped reserve and went straight into the team.
The competition will see him and his two team-mates complete as many highly-skilled moves – from loops to cartwheels – in a 45 second period.
They will do three runs, and the best two are counted towards their score.
During his time with the cadets, Ludlow has been able to regularly kayak, completing many courses and becoming a fully-qualified kayaking instructor.
He’s even managed to get a place at Hartpury College and University Centre, one of the leading sports education centres in the UK.
“I think I use Sea Cadets as an escape from home, not that it’s a bad thing but it’s just nice to get out of the house which is part of why I did it,” added Ludlow.
“Now that I’ve made the team it feels like it has all been worth it.
“It’s an honour to represent my country and next year I’ll definitely be aiming for worlds, which would be a big achievement.”