Te's push for world title funds
TE Otimi Patara is doing everything possible to make sure he is on a plane bound for Calgary to contest the world outrigger sprint titles.
Unfortunately for him, qualifying for the championship turned out to be the easy part.
The Urraween teen faces having to pull out of next month's international competition unless he can quickly come up with the money required for him to compete.
Each competitor must raise $5000 to cover travel costs and other expenses.
After experiencing the highs of representing Australia at the last world titles in New Caledonia in 2010, the 17-year-old is determined for another shot at glory.
"Last time I went I was really nervous and I didn't know how I would go," he said.
"Now I know what the competition is like, I've pushed myself even more to make sure I would make the team again.
"Going over there and representing Australia against the other countries - you can't beat that."
Originally a swimmer, Patara discovered outrigger canoeing four years ago - and he hasn't stopped paddling.
Despite the difficulty of juggling school and training at Mooloolaba, Patara, who is a member of the Fraser Coast Outrigging Canoe Club, has been working as a kitchen hand at a local cafe to try to raise the cash he needs to go to Calgary.
At the 2010 regatta, Patara paddled in the under-16 division, but this year he will make the jump up to under-19 and contest the V1 and OC6 (six-person canoe) events in the competition.
Apart from improving his technique, the Urangan State High School student is using the event as a learning curve to test himself against the world's best young paddlers.
"The competition will be pretty high, especially New Zealand and Tahiti, who are very strong," the 2011 OC1 marathon series champion said.
"I want to try my best and get up there (in the placings).
"I'm only new to under-19 so I know the competition will be a lot more intense."
If you would like to help Te Otimi Patara by sponsoring him or donating, contact Chris on 0448 241 245.