Grace claims dozen medals
IT TAKES guts, power and persistence to be a top paddler like Grace Riley.
Paddling 30km in five days against stiff competition is evidence of that.
But the 15-year-old's Herculean assault on this year's Australian Junior Outrigger Marathon Titles and Trans Tasman Gubbi Gubbi Waka Ama Championships reaped its reward when the Burrum Heads girl finished with 12 medals to her name.
The Burrum District Outrigger Canoe Club member enjoyed success in the marathon and sprint races, as well as excelling in the 16-years and 19-years age groups. Her best results were first in the under-16 OC6 500m straight and turn events, but it was the medals she claimed when she stepped up an age group which brought the most joy.
"I just wanted to have a go in under-19 and see how well I would go," she said.
"I wasn't expecting to get that many (medals) but it's good to know I can get up to that standard."
Riley's latest haul of medals comes six weeks after returning from the world sprint titles in Canada with two medals - a silver medal in the under-16 girls' OC6 1000m turn and a bronze in the OC6 500m straight OC6.
The Fraser Coast Anglican College student now has her sights on winning gold at the 2014 world sprint championships in Rio De Janeiro.
"At the next world titles I'll be in the under-19 age group so it's a big step up," she said.
"I'll have to train hard to be able to push those girls."
Riley's brother Jack also competed on the Sunshine Coast and was unlucky not to return home with a medal, while fellow Burrum District Outrigger Zali Potts showed promise in the under-14 OC1 250m event.