A paddling club in Halifax is hoping some support from Olympic paddler Mark de Jonge will inspire its athletes as they head to the Canadian championships next week in Regina.
Thirty-one athletes from the Maskwa Aquatic Club will be attending.
The club is looking at a bill of $75,000 to send its team to Regina, including airfare and transportation costs for its 30 boats.
Athletes heading to Regina range from children in their early teens to international competitors like de Jonge, who won gold in the men’s K1 200 metre at the 2014 Canoe Sprint World Championships in Moscow, Russia.
At a barbecue fundraiser Friday night, de Jonge returned to his home club to lend support for the cause.
He even gave the club the kayak he used when he won a bronze medal for Canada at the 2012 Olympics in London.
"I figured it would be really exciting for the kids to see that up on the wall as a reminder that you can actually make it to the Olympics being from around here,” he said. “So hopefully they will see that and get inspired every day."
Maskwa paddler Bret Himmelman will be on a plane Saturday morning headed for Regina.
"I've got six events over four days and this is going to be a great experience for me. It's the furthest out west I've ever been,” said Himmelman.