A world champion sportswoman fears she will be unable to defend her title next year – because she cannot afford it due to lack of funding.
Tamsin Green, from High Hauxley, is the world’s number one surf kayaker, winning the World Championship crown in the United States last year.
But now she fears she may struggle to continue – as she has to pay all of her sporting expenses out of her own pocket.
While juniors and competitors in other kayaking disciplines attract funding from agencies such as GB Canoeing, Tamsin receives no financial support at all.
And with next year’s World Championships to be held in Australia, she will have to find well over £2,000 to pay for flights, accommodation and equipment.
Tamsin said: “Funding from national bodies is quite hard to come by. There’s a line, and that line is Olympic sports and juniors.”
She said that keeping going with no financial support had been ‘extremely difficult’.
“At the moment I haven’t done any competitions in the UK this year, simply due to the cost of travel to the South West where most of these events take place.”
The lack of competition experience is also taking its toll on Tamsin’s world ranking points, which could affect her chances of competing in future tournaments as part of the England surf kayak team.
“I won’t make the team unless I go to events, or they are kind enough to award me a wild card,” she said.
But she said she understands the reasons behind the lack of funding for her sport, which is not part of the well-funded Olympic programme.
“I’m perfectly realistic about the sport, I know it’s never going to be a mainstream sport. However, my axe isn’t to grind against Olympic sports, it really isn’t.
“I’d like to think there was an opportunity for less mainstream sports to be highlighted, and less mainstream Olympic sports as well.”
Tamsin, 37, is the only surf kayaker to have won all of the sport’s biggest competitions, including the World Cup, European Championships and a clutch of British titles.
She takes time away from her job as an IT teacher at James Calvert Spence College, in Amble, to take part in up to 12 events per year.
She said that the school had been ‘totally supportive’ of her sporting pursuits.