YOUTH showed no age at the British Kayak Marathon Racing Championships as athletes from different generations took home gold medals. 

Alloa’s Hannah Toovey breezed to first place in the under-10 race, while Dollar veteran Andrew Morton won the over-70 category by less than a second at the contest held on the Thames near Reading. 

There were over 700 competitors at the major event as the duo gave the county something to shout about, and Hannah’s dad Jason spoke of his joy at seeing his daughter thrive in the sport she loves.

“I was really proud,” he said. “This is the first time we put anything on Facebook or in the news. We want to keep her as grounded as possible.

“Her aim is to be in the Olympics one day so it’s just about getting experience at big competitions and learning how to handle the pressure.

"She wants to perform well at every race. She took it all in her stride and was really relaxed. She’s very confident in the water.”

While Hannah has shown incredible potential at such a young age, Jason admitted he does not want to put too much pressure on her shoulders and is encouraging her to simply make the most of the experience.

He added: “It can be quite easy for them to burn out too early. She does it for fun and turns up to the races because she enjoys them. She was really pleased, especially when she got her medal.”

Meanwhile, Andrew has been competing as a kayaker for 50 years, adding the British Championship victory to his September success in the World Masters Championships in Germany.

The former Dollar Academy biology teacher said he still gets a kick out of being one of the best around in his category.

“I’ve been in the top three in the world for 20 years now,” he reflected. “I got a gold medal last year so it’s nice to feel, by and large, there’s hardly anyone in the world of my age that can beat me. That gives me a wee bit of a buzz.”

And he was quick to stress the health benefits of staying active in the sport as he added: “One thing about keeping fit and light is it keeps your brain sharp.

“I’ve got plenty of energy, not as much as I used to, but it makes a huge difference to your life. That’s the big side benefit. 

“Although I’m enjoying being British champion and world champion, it’s keeping me very sharp and able to do lots of other things.”

The experienced kayaker also knows a future talent when he sees one and spoke highly of nine-year-old Hannah’s ability on the water.

“I like her father’s approach. It’s low key. He’s not pushing her at all,” he said. “Quite a lot of parents push their kids quite hard when they’re young and they get hacked off with it. 

“With a light touch, she may well come through. For someone who can win the British Championships with virtually no training as far as I can see and still has a year to compete (in her current category), the bottom line is if she enjoys it then she gets fun out of it for the rest of her life.”