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Kayaking around Jamaica for charity: '14 Rivers, 7 Days'

GOING WITH THE FLOW: Tony 'Jamaican Kayaksman' Greyson-Newman practicing on the River Thames (photo credit: The Sylbourne Show)

TONY 'JAMAICAN Kayaksman' Greyson-Newman is preparing to scale 14 rivers across Jamaica, in the space of seven days in order to drum-up charitable donations for the Kingston Aquatic Sports Academy and the water pursuits on the island as a whole.

The challenge is dubbed 14 Rivers, 7 Days.

Greyson-Newman has plans to enter the 2020 Olympics and doing so will fly the flag for mature athletes and encourage Jamaicans and visitors to the island to to take-up kayaking.

Q: Who came up with the idea of 14 Rivers, 7 Days?

A: I did and it was fully supported by Leon McNeil, President of the Jamaica Kayak and Canoe Federation. As well as raising much-needed money for premises and equipment for the sport, it is intended to promote the sport across the island, seek out talent and to pique the interest of those who might want to take up the sport. Whilst I'm travelling on the rivers I will be assessing their suitability for what will be Jamaica's first international river race, where people of all abilities from Jamaica and abroad can take part.

Q: Most people who are preparing to compete in the Olympics have a sporting / athletic background and career path. Has that been the case for you too?

ROLLIN' DOWN THE RIVER: Tony Greyson-Newman practicing on the Thames

A: Over the years I have taking part in many sports and my greatest achievements came from combat sport and Thai kickboxing.

Q: Kayaking doesn't seem to appear very much on the agenda when it comes to sports coverage. What drew you to it?

A: My interest in it followed the 2012 Olympics, really. After looking at many different Olympic events and several conversations with my daughter and wife, I decided that kayaking was what I wanted to do.

Q: Have you done anything similar to 14 Rivers, 7 Days in terms of physical challenges?

A: I have done river races representing Jamaica in Spain and Ireland, but that was on just one river! This event takes me on 14 rivers across the island, over seven days and so is taking me out of my comfort zone.

Q: What are you doing to prepare for the seven days on the water?

A: Mainly regular long paddles of 10-20 kilometres daily on various parts of the Thames. It can be quite rough at times, but there no crocodiles, which I could encounter on some of Jamaica's rivers.

READY, STEADY: Tony Greyson-Newman at the Kingston Rowing Club, which is based at the Caribbean Maritime Institute

Q: What for you would be the best possible outcome at the end of 14 Rivers, 7 Days?

It would be a phenomenal achievement to raise the target donation of £50,000. That will launch the Kingston Aquatic Sports Academy and continue the journey of Team Jamaica Sprint Kayaking and Jamaica's first international river race.

Q:What makes Jamaica feel like home for you?

A: Although I was born and raised in London, I have always had a strong connection with Jamaican culture through my parents, grandparents, aunties, uncles etc... whether it is through the food, rapport, music...many many things. I have the special privilege of having two 'homes', one in the UK and one in Jamaica, and when traveling 'back home' I have a familiarity and appreciation for our heritage, our traditions... and our weather!

To donate to 14 Rivers, 7 Days and help raise money for kayaking facilities in Jamaica, click here.

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