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Marek era underway at Kamloops Canoe and Kayak Club

The Kamloops Canoe and Kayak Club (KCKC) is ushering in the Stanislav Marek Generation.

The Kamloops Canoe and Kayak Club (KCKC) is ushering in the Stanislav Marek Generation.

"I was looking for jobs around the world and this is exactly what I was looking for," said Marek, the club's new head coach who moved seven weeks ago to Kamloops from the Czech Republic.

"My long-term goal is to create a generation of my athletes."

The local paddling club looks to have landed a gem in Marek, who competed in kayaking in the junior and senior ranks for the Czech Republic, winning medals at the European and world championships and twice narrowly missing out on qualifying for the Olympic Games.

Marek, 31, began coaching about eight years ago, immediately after his paddling career began to fizzle.

Since then, he has coached national-level athletes in the Czech Republic, Cyprus and Taiwan.

The nature-loving Czech revived his kayaking career during a one-year stint in Cyprus in 2008, racing first for a club before cracking the island nation's national team.

"I was better than before, so they asked me to be a member of their national team," Marek said.

"It was possible, even without nationality or citizenship."

Marek is still eligible to race for Cyprus.

After spending three years coaching Taiwan's national dragon-boating team, Marek decided last year it was time for a change.

"The travel from Taiwan to Czech for three years became too much," Marek said.

"I saw an advertisement online from Kamloops, so I sent an email to Jeff Morgan, the club commodore."

The two negotiated through emails and, before long, it was clear Marek was the right man for the job.

With no significant other or children to consider, the decision to move was an easy one for Marek, whose full-time job is coaching at the Shumway Lake-based club.

"I was looking for a job, especially a job like this," he said.

"To start with a small club with a few athletes and improve the club. To start from the beginning.

"My goal, in the short term, is to double the number of kids who will be able to compete in the first race of the season next April."

The club already boasts several national-level athletes who are in the junior ranks.

Marek's job will be to help them improve while at the same time fostering the younger paddlers.

He also noted the club will be hosting summer camps and there are plans for a masters program at the KCKC.

"We are open to anyone who would like to spend free time paddling or canoeing," Marek said.

"We also plan to have dragon boating."

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The Marek Generation is already starting to blossom.

"Each week there is one more child coming and now we start to run summer camps," he said.

"The club, I have to say, is growing. Every week it's growing."