As the count down to Rio begins, athletes all over the nation are ramping up their training, vying for a spot on team USA. Among those athletes are group of young kayakers from right here in Hawaii.
"right now we have Kalei Kaho'okele training for the Olympics, we also have four other kids going for those Olympic Trials. We have kids going for the national team, the junior national team the Olympic hopefuls team. We want to be that Ohana that helps support them to be the very best that they can be." said Ikaika Hawaii co-founder and coach, Shelley Oates-Wilding.
Ikaika Hawaii is a organization dedicated to the development of champion watermen. Just three years after establishing the program she's doing exactly that. This year Ikaika Hawaii is sending eight athletes to compete at national trials. According to those elite athletes, much of the credit is due to their coach, who is a two-time Olympian herself.
"I just have a lot of trust because she's been at the top level and I know she can get me there too. [She's] super inspirational and I look up to her." said Ethan Ky, a kayaker at Ikaika Hawaii who will be competing at national trials this weekend.
Oates- Wilding passion for coaching developed as a result of her time spent kayaking for the Australian Olympic and national teams. Nowadays she's more than happy to pay those lessons forward.
"Everything I've done came from having great coaches. So, now for me I feel like my goal in every kid is to make every kid's life a little better. But, I find that if I can show them that that's a way you can live, and you're living your passion and your dream, then I'm super happy." said Oates-Wilding.
National team trials begin this Saturday, in Gainesville, Georgia. Winners from that competition will go on to compete at the Pan American Games,hono where they can earn their chance to represent team USA in Brazil.
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