THERE isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t find myself amazed and grateful for the life I am living. One of the great things I get to do is to meet interesting people doing unique things, and so this week I met 18-year-old James Fitzsimmons.
James has been living in Mallorca since he was a toddler. He lives in Andratx with his mum Sharon.
One day, when James was 11 his friend rang him up and asked him if he wanted to go kayaking, James said yes, and literally the rest is history.
He found a sport which suited him and he it, and very soon he was out on the water as often as he possibly could be. He started to compete and rose through the ranks of his peers to start winning Open Water Kayak races as a junior. And now as an adult, in the Under-23 category he is already winning competitions against older and more experienced ‘paddlers.’
James now has the opportunity to go to Tahiti and compete in the World Championships (or ‘World Champs’ as he endearingly calls it). His training schedule is relentless and his dedication is impressive, but when you hear that he is doing it with very little organised or formal coaching or support then you begin to be really, really impressed with him.
Since turning 18 and becoming legally an adult, he doesn’t get the same sort of help as he would have done when he was 17 and younger. Which is an incredible shame. So James’s mum Sharon is fighting to raise the funds to get her son to the South Pacific to compete.
If you want to show your support you can join in at Sa Vinya in Es Capdella, Calvia on Sunday September 20 from 16.00 to 20.00 where there will be a fun fundraising event for James (they are planning to put his kayaks in the swimming pool and invite people to try to get into them, it’s much harder than it looks, so there could be a few splashes!).
Sponsors for logos on his boat are also being sought to help him raise the 4,000€ he needs to get to the competition. When you look around and see so many disillusioned young people it’s wonderful to see one so driven and quietly determined to succeed. Please support or sponsor James and wish him luck in his big World Champ.