CANOEING: X Factor Style opportunity

The Canoe Association of Northern Ireland with support from Sport NI are giving 24 young sporting enthusiasts aged between 12 and 20 the opportunity of a lifetime by developing an X Factor style development squad for the Olympic discipline of canoe slalom.

If you think you have what it takes to join Ireland's top slalom kayaker, Hannah Craig at the next World Championships or get a Gold medal in the 2012 Olympics then this is for you!

If you're fit, love being outdoors, not afraid of getting wet and are ready to commit to a year's training programme – then apply for the Talent Search Program. You don't have to have any previous experience in kayaking but should be active and have an enthusiasm for sport. To trial out fill in the application form on www.cani.org.uk before the closing date of 8 August.

If you've ever enjoyed a waterslide– imagine doing it in a boat and negotiating poles at the same time. Slalom kayaking takes place on a White Water river and involves paddling your boat as fast as possible down a prescribed course while negotiating through a variety of upstream or downstream gates.

Hannah our top slalom kayaker is currently ranked number 4 in the World Series and believes that "slalom is an exciting and challenging sport that has it all – from fun and excitement to thrill and skill. Every river, every course and every day present new challenges."

Hannah is coached by top Olympic coach Han Bijnen from the Netherlands who also coaches one of the American Olympic athletes. Both Hannah and Han have agreed to provide monthly coaching and training to the selected team and there will be opportunities to travel to the White Water Course at Grandtully in Scotland and a specialised artificial course in France next year.

The first weekend of AUDITIONS will be a selection for the programme and will take place at Banbridge Leisure Centre on 29th and 30th August 2008

Further details of the selection process and the talent ID programme can be found on the Canoe Association website www.cani.org.uk then click on Paddling Beyond 2012.