Yorkshire world champion competing in style

A Yorkshire world champion has received a boost as she prepares to defend her title.

Claire O’Hara, from Meanwood in Leeds, will be sponsored for a third year by Volkswagen Van Centre (West Yorkshire) as she aims to retain her British and World squirt boat kayak championships.

The Cleckheaton-based van centre has provided Claire with a new Volkswagen Transporter T5 which been custom fitted to make it suitable to living and travelling on the road as a kayaker.

Claire is now able to concentrate on training as she prepares to retain her world crown in Germany in June.

The van is kitted out with everything Claire needs including a bed, storage space for her kayaks and equipment, as well as creating a comfy living space with refrigerator.

Following her trip to Germany Claire will be using the van to travel across the UK to compete in the British Championship and UK national series.

The 29-year-old is completely self-funded, leaning heavily on her job as sports co-ordinator at Notre Dame College and sponsorships, to allow her to compete in world events.

Claire said: “These events are massive for me and without this sponsorship from Volkswagen Van Centre (West Yorkshire), I’d be really stuck. It would be similar to paddling my kayak without any paddles!

“I cannot thank the Volkswagen Van Centre (West Yorkshire) enough. They have sponsored me with the most amazing van ever.

“The brand new Volkswagen Transporter T5 is a kayaker’s dream vehicle. It fits four boats, a bike and ludicrous amounts of kit and still has loads of space for living in and can comfortably sleep 2 people.”

Claire competes for the Great British Freestyle Kayaking team in two categories, freestyle kayak and squirt boat kayak. As well as being the current British, European and World Champion in squirt boat kayaking, Claire is the European silver medallist in freestyle kayaking.

She added: “The van is perfect for me and kayaking, because competing in two disciplines means I need to travel with a lot of specialist kit and the van fits it all in perfectly.”

Andrew Caygill, brand manager at Volkswagen Van Centre (West Yorkshire), said: “Claire is a fantastic ambassador for Yorkshire and Britain, so it was an easy decision to loan her the Transporter T-5 again this year and help her compete in Germany and across the UK.

“Everyone at the van centre wishes Claire well in her quest to retain her world and British titles.”

To find out how Claire gets on in the World Cup on 20th – 26th June go to her website www.claireohara.co.uk