John Newton has achieved a dream of winning gold at masters World Championship level.
John Newton has achieved a dream of winning gold at masters World Championship level. Scott Powick

Gold dream realised for kayaker

TWICE John Newton has come second in the annual Canoe Marathon World Championships' masters event.

The 67-year-old Elanora man finally claimed first last month at the International Canoe Federation competition in Singapore.

The gruelling 17.5km K1 event required Newton to carry his kayak 100m four times to complete each loop of the "just stunning" Singaporean course, he said.

The next day he and Currumbin Creek Canoe Club president Mark Richard teamed up to claim third in the five lap, 22.5km, 50 to 54-year-old K2 event.

"It was interesting because of the weather conditions," Newton said.

"It must've been 30 degrees and 95% humidity, but the water in Marina Bay, right in the centre of Singapore, was beautiful and they've got amazing buildings all around."

It has been a good year for the waterman as he also won state and national ironman events during 2011.

He said he has been devoted to water sports since he was barely old enough to swim.

"I was about two, and my aunt used to take me down the beach at Maroubra.

"I was introduced to kayaking through my surf club in Sydney during the 1950s or 1960s.

"We had a few Olympic kayakers so I guess that's what turned me onto it.

"I prefer to be out in the ocean in some ways, and the K1 wasn't as hard as surf events because surf skis weigh 18kg while kayaks are about 12.

Newton is not quite an Olympian after trialing for Mexico City in1968, but missing out.

Like the proverbial fine wine he seems to keep getting better with age, though he attributes it to improving technology.

"When I was 60 I could still paddle almost as fast as when I was younger, but equipment has changed so much - particularly the paddle.

"I'm big on wellbeing.; I started my career as a physical education teacher from high school right up to tertiary and I always try to practise what I preach."

The silver bullet's next big events will be the ICF world champs in October 2012, in Rome, then November's world surf life saving championships in Adelaide.

The exercise physiology masters graduate said he was biologically younger than his numerical age.


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