Most people would agree that joining a new company is always a moment of upheaval. Doing so while also training for international sporting competition though is something that few people experience.
That is exactly the situation Joe Petersen finds himself in. Having recently joined Sports Marketing Surveys as part of the acquisition of Culture of Insight, Joe also recently earned a spot in Great Britain’s team for the upcoming Canoe Marathon World Cup in Prague.
Selection for the GB team is, unsurprisingly, a hard-fought affair. In April, Joe took part in the long-course assessment race in Norwich and the inaugural Short-Course National Championships in Peterborough. A pair of top 10 finishes earned him a spot in the team of 10 male and female athletes headed for Prague.
The race is not just a prestigious event in its own right, but also forms a development trip for those looking to race at future World and European Championships.
Joe’s canoeing journey started a decade ago at Banbury and District Canoe Club and he is indebted to his neighbours for the inspiration. “They recommended trying it out and from there I quickly progressed and started getting selected for internationals a few years after I started.”
That local intervention has proved to be to the nation’s benefit. Joe went on to earn 4th place at the Junior World Championships in 2017, an achievement that stands as a career highlight – for now.
Indeed, having already competed at Canoe World Cups and and World and European Championships, and with time on his side, Joe’s paddling career is going from strength to strength. Like many athletes though, COVID-19 and lockdowns have added complexities to competition.
“I’m looking forward to going on a trip again after a 3 year hiatus due to curbs on international events and travel. I’m also excited to get the chance to race in a new place, Prague, which is looking like a fun venue on the river in the middle of the city.”
While Wisley may not quite be able to match the Czech capital for its culture, castles, or astrological clocks, the proximity of the canoeist’s paradise that is the River Wey to the SMS offices has not been lost on Joe.
“It’s definitely caught my eye and if ever I lived closer to Wisley, commuting in the canoe would be on the cards!”
The acquisition of Culture of Insight by SMS was the result of a long-term partnership between the companies, but was also a step tinged with sadness, coming as COI’s founder James Smythe, himself a great contributor to British Canoeing, passed away. Joe’s early weeks as part of the SMS team have been busy keeping up existing COI commitments while also beginning to develop new products and processes with SMS.
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