‘This is my hometown’: Athlete excited for Canadian Sprint Canoe Kayak Championships to return to Dartmouth

The 2016 Canadian Sprint Canoe Kayak Championships are taking place in Dartmouth from Aug. 30 to Sept. 4.

More than 1,200 athletes from over 40 clubs across the country will be coming together on Lake Banook to compete in six days of intense racing events.

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A legacy donation is making it possible to install a return lane in time for the national competition – a first for Lake Banook.

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    “It’s going to make the races more fair so the athletes aren’t experiencing wash from people warming up and the previous race,” national team member and Pan American Games gold medallist Hannah Vaughan said.

    “That’s going to have an incredible lasting impact because it’s going to upgrade our course internationally to an A-grade course which means we’re going to be able to host future international competitions like the World Championships as we did in ’97 and 2009.”

    READ MORE: Canada wins first medal of Pan Am Games, gold in women’s kayaking

    Vaughan, a sprint kayaker from Dartmouth, is taking on a new role at the 2016 national event.

    “I made a commitment to the club that if I didn’t qualify for the Olympics, which unfortunately I didn’t, I would coach at my club,” Vaughn said. “So, I’m going to have a dual role at this nationals – still racing my senior events, still trying to win medals for myself and then also cheering on my athletes who will be competing in the younger division.”

    According to Canoe Kayak Canada, 40 per cent of competitive kayak and canoe athletes in Canada originate from Nova Scotia.

    Another Dartmouth native, Ailish McNulty, said she’s been paddling on Lake Banook since she was four years old. She said the national competition will allow her the opportunity to showcase her skills in front of family and friends.

    “This is my hometown. This is my favourite place on Earth – Dartmouth,” said McNulty. “It’s going to be really great to have hometown advantage and have so many people that I care about coming down to watch me race.”

    The event is inclusive of The Canadian Masters Championship – an event that will attract an additional 600 adult competitive paddlers.

    READ MORE: Canadian kayaker Mark de Jonge wins Pan Am gold

    The event first came to Dartmouth in 1971. The City of Lakes has been home to the historic event every four years since 1980.