Tomorrow at 6.00am sharp, the Wakeman family of Shure will be sitting in front of the TV with ‘curled toes’. Their daughter and sister Martina Weckman (31) later appear on the Olympic stage during a canoe slalom. Canoeing plays an important role in the whole family: from an early age they travel by bicycle to the beach in Shur.
Martina Weckman will start ‘Kayak K1 Class’ at 6.50am tomorrow. His sister Quirin, father Eric and mother Brigitte watch about 9,275 kilometers in front of the television. The artificial whitewater river screen will be featured at the Kasai Kano Slalom Center in Tokyo.
In that slalom course, Wakeman has to go quickly through the gates from A to B. “If she touches the mouth, she gets negatives,” says her mother Brigitte. “If you miss the gate, you can forget it. Then you can leave because the negatives are too much.”
With kayak to school beach
When it comes to canoeing, the whole family is a liaison. Father Eric Weckman ignited the rest of the family with his enthusiasm. At the age of 28 he bravely bought his first kayak to the North Sea. Martina, Quirin and their brother Remy grow up in the game. As children they come by bicycle – with a kayak in the back – to go five kilometers to the beach in Shur.
“They were jumping into the sea several times a week,” their father says. “You don’t learn your technique well at sea, but you learn control and develop courage.” During the holidays, the family travels to suitable rivers in Europe. “The locals went to practice for an hour, but they played golf from early morning until late at night,” says Eric Weckman.
On the road all summer
In 1991, Eric joined a company that organized kayak tours. In 2002 he took over the company with his family. “It’s really an entertainment business and I earn a lot as a carpenter,” he says. “But what parents can say that he and his children are engaged in their business during the summer?”
Martina, Guerin and Remy all took part in international competitions. For many years, Martina, an international celebrity in the sport, has focused on whitewater kayaking. It’s an extreme sport: she travels with electricity from meter-high waterfalls and kayaks between crocodiles.
His game takes Martina around the world. She lives in New Zealand with her husband for half a year. However, at some point, the dangers of wild water begin to deter her. Martina then communicates with Slalom Kayaking through her husband. He coaches the game at a high level in New Zealand.
Focus on sports
Since 2016, Martina has focused on the Olympics. For this he mainly trains on the other side of the world. “He’s usually been in New Zealand for half a year,” said his sister Quirin. “While he’s here he goes to Europe to play in tournaments. Every time he’s in Shur for a week.”
Martina received a ticket to the game in 2019. It became the first Dutchman to receive a starting license for Kano Slalom in twelve years. “She does her best to win, but has a lot of fun regardless of the outcome,” her father says.
Martina’s match can be watched tomorrow at 6.00 am via Eurosport and Discovery +.
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