RAFTING: Tori’s team aiming to become Euro stars

Tori Callaby (far left)
Tori Callaby (far left)
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A Spalding woman is delighted her team have qualified to represent Great Britain for the third time in the IRF European Championships next month.

Tori Callaby (38) is part of the Red Rose Rafting Team who regained their GBR2 status during a qualifying weekend in Nottingham.

The team with Tori Callaby (left)

The team with Tori Callaby (left)

Now the seven-strong team are preparing to travel to Georgia to compete in four elements – sprint, head to head, slalom and endurance – to see who comes out on top.

“We’re absolutely delighted to regain our position,” said Callaby.

“The team faced some really stiff competition during the qualifying event and the girls had to dig deep.

“But I think because we were up against such good teams, it really spurred us on.

It’s going to be an interesting competition as a lot of teams are focusing on the World Championships which are this year too, and so won’t be going to Georgia. That’s really going to open things up.

Tori Callaby

“This ranking was just too important to lose.

“All our focus is on Georgia now, where we’re going to be competing on a natural river rather than a man-made one.

“Obviously we’d love to improve on our position from last time.

“We’ve been working on the endurance element particularly as this was our weakest.

Rafting

Rafting

“It’s going to be an interesting competition as a lot of teams are focusing on the World Championships which are this year too, and so won’t be going to Georgia. That’s really going to open things up.”

The Red Rose Rafting Team were formed in 2009 by a group of friends who share a passion for outdoor activities and pursuits.

The majority of members come from the Lancashire area – with Callaby the only one based in Lincolnshire.

She will be heading to Georgia with team-mates captain Jess Evans, Sarah-Jayne Evans, Ali Gedling, Bex Faragher, Molly McKenzie and Katie Halls on May 22.

On the water

On the water

Last year the team won a silver European medal in a four-man raft in the sprint discipline and placed seventh overall out of 14 countries.

Injury forced Callaby into a coaching role last year while in 2015 she was part of a six-strong team which finished ninth.

The team receives no funding so on top of their day jobs, family commitments and training, members have to raise money and sponsorship to compete, pay for kit, equipment and travel expenses.

To get to the championships it will cost each paddler in the region of £600 so the group have set up an online funding page and they are appealing for sponsors and donations to help cover their costs.

To keep up to date with the team’s progress follow them at www.facebook.com/RedRoseRapidsRafting

To make a donation visit www.pledgesports.org/projects/red-rose-rafters-head-to-european-championship/