THE daughter of one of the nation’s greatest ever sportswomen dreams of following her impressive lead by competing on the world stage.
Whilst wheelchair racer Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson excelled on the track, her daughter Carys feels more at home on white water rapids.
The 11-year-old kayaker already has her sights set on the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo after her first national call-up to represent England in the Pan Celtic Cup, a home country canoeing competition run over three events this spring.
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She has also been selected for the England Talent Programme, Northern Regional Academy, which aims to identify and nurture the next wave of paddling talent.
Carys, from Eaglescliffe, near Stockton, got hooked on white water kayaking during a school camp at the age of nine and went on to join the Tees Tigers canoe club, which she now trains with four times a week.
She said: “I like it because you feel lots of adrenaline.”
Slalom racing takes Carys all over the country and often sees her line up against adults, though prizes are handed out by age group.
She said: “I hope to go to the Olympics and win something, I’m kind of quite competitive so have always wanted that.”
With 11 golds, four silvers and a bronze medal to her name, Baroness Grey-Thompson, now a crossbench peer in the House of Lords, is one of the world’s most successful ever Paralympic athletes.
Carys said: “She’s quite a big influence, she has done so well in sport and I know she enjoyed it.
“She started racing at my age and was representing Wales at 12, similar to me. It makes me hopeful that I can do it.”
She has also been inspired at major events including the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London, Beijing and Athens where, in 2008, she saw her mother win her last two gold medals.
She said: “They are so exciting to be at, I don’t remember much about Athens just how big it was and how happy she was. I’d love to experience that.”
Carys is a pupil at Barnard Castle School where she enjoys other sports such as hockey, lacrosse and netball which she hopes to play at county level.