‘I keep medals in sock drawer’ - Olympic canoeist David Florence

OLYMPIC canoeist David Florence is hoping to see waves of youngsters signing up to the sport after the excitement of the Games.

The Edinburgh sportsman, who took silver in the London Games’ slalom event, admitted the Olympics had been a dream for him since he was a child.

And he said in the wake of his success he hopes to pay a return visit to the Forth Canoe Club, where he trained as a teenager.

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Based on the Union Canal, the club, which is the oldest in Scotland, has already reported a dramatic rise in the number of people who want to take up the sport.

David, 30, who is currently in Prague for a world cup event, said he hoped more youngsters would see the opportunities the sport presented.

“Canoeing is a very easy sport to get involved in and I certainly hope the Games will have inspired youngsters to get involved,” he said.

“When I was very young I used to daydream about being in the Olympics, which I’m sure a lot of youngsters do, but I took up the sport because I love it.

“There gradually came a time when I realised that going to the Games was something realistic for me.”

The former Stewarts Melville College pupil began canoeing on the Water of Leith and was eventually invited to join the Forth club. Most of his training was done on the Union Canal.

He went on to take silver at the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008 before repeating the feat at this year’s event.

Despite the prestige that goes with such an achievement he revealed he would not be putting his latest prize on public display.

“I’m going to put my silver medal along with all my other ones – in my sock drawer,” he said.

Speaking of plans to hold an Olympic parade welcoming back Scotland’s heroes in Glasgow, David said: “It’s great that we are having a parade back in Scotland – having been part of the parade in 2008, it felt incredible.

“It would have been nice if the parade was to be held in Edinburgh because that’s where I’m from, but Glasgow or Edinburgh, it’s going to be great.”

Forth Canoe Club coach Jonathan Riddell said that since the London Games, inquiries from people keen on getting involved had risen from fortnightly to daily. He said: “My weekly slalom sessions have tripled in numbers from about four to about 12, which is capacity on the space we have.

“The division one slalom I’m running this weekend has a full entry list two weeks before the event, which is unprecedented – it’s going to be busy.”

But he also spoke of the sport’s need for more funding. “Canoeing in Scotland gets the best results for both recreation and competition but has had very little investment from Government for facilities compared to England and Wales.

“Maybe this will help our case more.”