Sharlene Kelly has been appointed as the Queensland Academy of Sport (QAS) Canoe Sprint Coach, with a pathways regional focus based on the Sunshine Coast.

Sharlene’s appointment comes as part of the QAS Generation 32 Coach Program, as they look to partner with National Sporting Organisations to develop homegrown coaches ahead of the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Within Paddle Australia’s High Performance strategy this role sits as a partnership providing mutual benefit and uplift for Paddle Australia, QAS and Paddle Queensland all united to ensure we support our athletes to become the world’s best paddlers and people.

As an athlete and coach across both kayaking and surf life saving for more than 20 years, Sharlene has also recently coached surf life saving professional ironwoman Lana Rogers to back-to-back Nutri-Grain Iron Series wins.

Working closely with Paddle Australia (PA) National Performance Pathways Lead (Sprint) Ken Wallace OAM, Sharlene will be tasked with identifying and developing sprint kayak talent on the Sunshine Coast.

The Sunshine Coast presents many exciting opportunities for the sport, and is a gold mine of sprint kayaking athletes with the potential to join the sprint kayaking program on the green and gold runway to Brisbane 2032.

“My passion is helping athletes discover their potential and providing them with the mental tools and physical training to achieve their sporting dreams,” Sharlene said.

“I’ve always had a passion for coaching – even when I was still competing, I was coaching juniors across both sports.

“I just love being able to pass on my experiences which is then hopefully going to help someone else in their own sporting careers,” she said.

Sharlene also commented about the great opportunity that the green and gold runway will present for sports like kayaking in the build up to the Brisbane 2032 Games.

“We have 10 years of so many great things that are going to happen in Australian sport, it really is a great time to be involved in sport” Sharlene said.

“What I love about Paddle Australia and the Queensland Academy of Sport is the investment that both organisations have put into developing homegrown talent ahead of Brisbane 2032,” Sharlene said.

“Over the next 10 years, not only will we see ignited junior athlete development, but also into Australian coaches – which I’m extremely grateful for.

“So when we look up on the podium come Brisbane 2032, not only are there going to be homegrown athletes up there but homegrown coaches standing right there next to them,” she said.

PA National Performance Pathways Lead (Sprint) Ken Wallace said he is excited to welcome Sharlene to the team.

“We are very excited to have Sharlene join our Pathways team as we continue to build on the green and gold runway towards Brisbane 2032,” Wallace said.

“Coming from a surf life saving background, I’ve been able to closely witness the work and results Sharlene has been able to achieve, and the passion she continues to demonstrate for the dual pathways of surf life saving and paddling.

“As a former national kayak team member, coupled with her years of experience in the paddling and surf life saving worlds, Sharlene understands better than most how the two sports complement each other and can work hand in hand to create the world’s best paddlers and people.

“The passion she holds for both sports will continue to be a motivator for not only her athletes, but also us as her colleagues, as she works closely with Todd Grace and Valentin Henot.

“I look forward to working closely with Sharlene as we unlock the talent and play a supporting role to the future generations of Olympians and I thank the QAS and the Australian Institute of Sport for their strong belief and confidence in Paddle Australia.” he said.

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