The 14 year old paddler from the Club de Mar has entered the Centre de Tecnificació Esportiva, which prepares the future talents of the sport
Aina Palmer is the first Club de Mar paddler to enter the Centre de Tecnificació Esportiva Illes Balears, where athletes from a multitude of disciplines who have the potential to reach very high levels are admitted. There they are offered the possibility of combining very hard training with life at the secondary school that hosts the same centre. However, there is still a long way to go and the results will only be achieved with tenacity, effort and dedication day by day.
Right now Aina, aged 14, is coming out of her last year in the infantile category and is already competing in the cadet category. One more step and new challenges to face. She started paddling for the first time at the age of 7, one summer on a beach in Colònia de Sant Jordi. There, the instructor who introduced her to canoeing realised that this sport could be for Aina more than a fleeting entertainment and recommended her to join the Club de Mar team, as he knew the head of the canoeing section, Ginés Cerdán.
Cerdán soon realised Aina’s potential: “We saw options for her to enter the Balearic Technification Centre, but she had to get a good place in national competitions, as every year there are two or three new places in canoeing at the centre. Aina got the place after a great performance in the K1 1,000 of the Spanish Championships in the children’s category”.
Aina Palmer has taken on her new routine at the training centre with normality. As she explains, the adaptation has not been complicated: “My life now at the CTEIB is the same as before, although there I can better combine studies with sport, the only thing that changes are the training hours, which are quite a lot more”, besides, she points out “they make the transfers to the training place and then you go back to school”.
For Aina, sport is a way of life: “it has allowed me to meet a lot of people and I only think about practising it, although I admit that sometimes I end the day exhausted”.
Her sporting idols, of course, are canoeists, the Olympic champions Saúl Craviotto and the Mallorcan Marcus Cooper-Walz. Maybe one day Aina will have the chance to achieve great goals, like them, in this sport. For the moment, she says that she remains calm on competition days: “I’m not very affected by competing. I face the championships normally. I don’t get nervous”.
Aina Palmer faces the season with her sights set on improving her performance: “My objectives for this season are to be on the podium in the regional competitions and to reach the finals of the Spanish championships”. According to Ginés Cerdán, the athlete has to focus on Olympic distances from now on. Aina says that she prefers the intensity of sprint events, although she also competes in long-distance events.
For the moment, Aina has taken a step forward in her commitment to top-level sport and has achieved an important goal by joining the Centre de Tecnificació Esportiva. We will have to follow her closely this season.