Shaun Fair’s year keeps getting better.
The Waverley paddler learned this week he has cracked the Canadian sprint canoe-kayak team for a pair of World Cup events in Europe in his first year eligible as a senior. It’s an important step toward qualifying for the world championships that will be held on Lake Banook in Dartmouth in August.
The news came less than a month after he was one of 50 athletes to win $4,000 in funding from Petro Canada through a program designed to move athletes closer to their Olympic dream.
As it turns out, the funding helped him crack the World Cup roster. He used the money to travel to Montreal to spend three weeks training with the national team, a trip he wouldn’t have been able to take otherwise as a non-carded athlete.
“It really helped — it would have been a lot more difficult without that grant,” said Fair. “In the last three weeks before the (selection trials), there was a lot of improvement, working with the coaches and training with great athletes.”
Fair, who has competed at the Pan-American championships and junior worlds, was selected as an extra for the K-4 crew that will compete in Poznan, Poland, from May 22 to 24, and in Szeged, Hungary, from June 5 to 7.
“It’s a big deal for me,” said Fair. “I knew it was a possibility but I never really thought it could happen.“
Fair, just 18, will have plenty of world championships to qualify for in the future, but it would be extra special this year with the event in his own back yard. Qualifying continues after the World Cups with two more sets of team trials.
“It’s a matter of putting my head down and going as hard as I can every chance,” he said. “The guys ahead of me are experienced athletes. Most are Olympians. It’s a matter of, if I’ve got (what it takes), hopefully I can do it when I have to.”