WEST FIFE’S latest Olympian has described her selection for Tokyo as both a shock and a “whirlwind”.

Katie Reid, who is originally from Cairneyhill, was last week announced as the first female C1 canoe sprint paddler to represent Great Britain when the event makes its Olympic debut this summer.

The 26-year-old, a former pupil at Cairneyhill Primary and Queen Anne High, said she had been coming to terms with not reaching the Games following May’s ICF (International Canoe Federation) European selection event in Hungary.

However, after British Canoeing were notified that Team GB would be allocated a quota place in the WC1 200 metres, the place having been reallocated following a countback from the 2019 Canoe Sprint World Championships in line with the ICF Olympic qualification system, Katie faced a last-gasp change of plans.

She’s set to fly out to the Olympic village on July 26 and, speaking to Press Sport, she said: “It has been great but a whirlwind, for sure!

“It’s been amazing; it is a massive shock. No-one really knew this was coming at all, and I had no inkling.

“I think it was confirmed seven hours before the official closing date and time so I literally made it by the skin of my teeth.

“It’s weird because I was processing not going for a couple of months. Your goals change to Paris (Olympics, 2024), the World Championships and all that sort of stuff, and then, whack – you’re going to the Games!

“It’s strange but it’s a lovely feeling. I’m going to the Olympics; that’s amazing.”

Katie, a former Scottish karate champion, took up the sport seven years ago after enrolling in the ‘Girls4Gold’ training programme, an initiative that aimed to uncover female athletes to compete in 200m and 500m canoe and kayak events, with the ultimate goal of representing Team GB at the Olympics.

Nottingham-based Katie continued: “It’s the first time women’s sprint canoe has been in the Olympics.

“The men have been there for a lot of years but this is the first time the women are getting to showcase their talents.

“I completely forgot about it to be honest with you but then my coach was saying about it, and it’s pretty incredible to be alongside those girls and getting out there and showing the world what we can do.

“We’ve worked so hard over the years to progress the sport and I guess prove a point that we are good enough, and are worthy of being on that stage.

“I just want to go out there and enjoy it.”