Golden boy Tim scales heights

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Westhill’s Olympic canoeing gold medallist Tim Baillie took the opportunity to follow in his dad’s footsteps and try some alternative sporting challenges during a recent visit to the North-east.

Tim, who won the C2 category in London with Etienne Stott, visited Transition Extreme (TX) to see the work being undertaken at the world-class extreme sports facility by the award winning independent charity.

Tim’s father Ken, a latecomer to climbing, is a regular visitor to the facility which offers more than 50 challenging lead routes for the experienced but runs classes for all ages and abilities.

Tim enjoys mountain biking, skiing and surfing when he is not canoeing and he added BMX biking, skateboarding and climbing to his list of sporting activities during his visit to TX and he also ventured on to the aerial assault course which is proving a increasingly popular attraction as a team building facility for North-east businesses.

In the run up to the Olympics his focus was primarily on canoeing and weights but Tim said that some canoeing colleagues did use climbing as a training method and cross training could provide a boost.

“One of the coaches on the development programme in Nottingham used to climb at a very high level himself and in the past he has taken his group climbing once a week and coached them on it,” said Tim.

“It is a fun way of keeping fit and getting exercise and much more mentally stimulating than going on a treadmill for example.

“Cross training offers a bit of variety and we say ‘a happy athlete is a fast athlete’ so the more you can enjoy your life the better.

“Making yourself miserable by training at the same sport all the time is not good for anyone. This winter, being the first winter of an Olympic cycle, I will probably do a bit more cross training and climbing is a good sport for athletes looking to improve their upper body strength and control of their movements.”

“In canoeing the vast majority of the time when you make a mistake you fall into water and don’t hit concrete quite so hard.

“Transition is just an amazing facility to have and I would have been absolutely over the moon if it existed when I was a kid. The skate park is such a cool facility for young kids to have access to.”

Grahame Paterson, chief executive of TX, said: “I am delighted that Tim supports the work of Transition and sees the value we bring not only in sports terms but wider benefits to the community. As an inspirational young man himself, he demonstrates what can be achieved in life if young people harness their energy positively to fully reach their potential.”