Riding to success: Robert crowned Australian champion 

Riding to success: Robert crowned Australian champion 
Brendan Rees

 At just 22, Carlton resident Robert Janiszewski has achieved his sporting dreams beyond imagination.

The young athlete was crowned Australian Wildwater Canoe Champion for 2023 – a title he has now held for six consecutive years – after winning the March 3-5 event at the Penrith Whitewater Stadium.

He said he was honoured to be awarded the prestigious title after competing against the best, adding it was a “winning mindset” that powered him to victory.

“When you want to achieve something and hold a title, the right mind space is key and I felt a winner before I ‘paddled’ on to the start line,” he said.

He will now prepare to represent Australia at the World Championships in Augsburg Germany from June 9-11, as well as in under 23 and senior World Cup events throughout Europe in June and July.

Robert, whose day job is working as a project coordinator for commercial builder Maben Group, is a committed athlete, training about 14 hours a week.

But because wild water canoeing is not an Olympic sport, there is very minimal funding, meaning Robert must seek sponsorships where he can and work to support his love for the sport. 

But the humble sportsman wouldn’t have it any other way.

“My plans for the future are to continue to pursue my goals in my sport, while also carving a good career in the construction industry as I believe it’s good to have a healthy balance to have two goals to strive for in life,” he said.

Having recently completed his Bachelor of Applied Science in Construction Management at RMIT, Robert is now a project coordinator at a site of a future Coles supermarket in Craigieburn, which was a 7.30am to 5pm workday but manages to fit in training “before and after work”.

Before taking up wild water canoeing, which he was introduced to through a school camp, Robert did fencing while at the same time playing soccer, football, and cricket.

“I committed to soccer for over six years from age of eight to 14 at a NPL (National Premier League) level and at the age of 14, I made the decision to pursue kayaking full time,” he said.

“I think I am always looking to better myself in life and sport is my main way to do my best performances.”

“I have always been a perfectionist so competing and training to become the best is something that feels natural and keeps my mind and body active which I love.” •

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