Olympic contenders hope ship tank gives them a winning edge

Jess Walker on the water
Jess Walker on the water
Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Cllr Ken Ellcome with Jean and Allan Thompson. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

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IT’S a top-secret facility used to test the UK’s latest marine technology.

But the huge indoor tank at QinetiQ’s base in Gosport has now taken on a new role – training up our British Olympic hopefuls.

Liam Heath front and Jon Schofield

Liam Heath front and Jon Schofield

Athletes from Great Britain’s canoeing team spent the day training at the Haslar site yesterday.

The flat water of the 270m-long ship tank means they can race against the clock without interference from the elements.

They hope it will give them a winning edge before selection for the Olympic games later this year.

Athlete Jess Walker, 21, from London, said: ‘It’s an interesting place.

‘It’s good because it means we have the same conditions every time.

‘When we’re outside the conditions are always changing – the wind and the weather.

‘So here we can do time trials, then go away and train before coming back to test ourselves again.’

Rich Jefferies, 25, from the Isle of Wight, is another athlete contending for the 2012 games.

He said: ‘Using the tank helps us make sure we have done everything we can do to push ourselves.

‘I thought it was a really good idea.’