TEENAGE prodigy Scott Finch insists he isn’t daunted by the prospect of facing off against the world’s best at next month’s Wildwater World Championships in Italy.

Finch, who turns 18 today, earned a sensational call-up to the Great Britain squad for the senior worlds after securing a fifth-placed finish at a selection race in Bala, Wales, last month. The Wiltshire Youth canoe club member is now set to take on the world in the mens’ kayak event on the Adda river in Valtellina, on June 9-14.

Wiltshire College student Finch, from Melksham, has twice competed at the junior world championships, also hitting the water at the junior European Championships.

He can draw inspiration from family friend and fellow international Hannah Brown, who stormed to victory in the women’s K1 sprint discipline at last year’s Wildwater World Championships in Slovenia.

Finch’s family brought Bradford on Avon ace Brown’s gold medal back to Wiltshire and the young paddler’s Italian adventure could be the first stroke towards his own senior international honours.

“I’ve paddled since I was eight years old and I’ve raced for Britain since my 15th birthday, which was the earliest I could be selected,” said Finch, who has also been selected for this year’s junior Europeans in Bosnia & Herzegovina, as well as the ICF (International Canoe Federation) World Cup series. 

“This is going to be my first senior world championships and I’m quite excited – it’s a big jump up for me.

“I’m not going out there expecting to get anything, so I’m just going to enjoy the experience. I don’t know what the other competitors will be like but I know that it’s going to be on quite a fast river.

“I’m not worrying about it too much but maybe it will sink in a bit more when I fly out there on June 5.

“We know Hannah Brown quite well and when she won last year, we took her medal back home for her – I took quite a few pictures of it.”

Brown, 24, will also be in action in Italy as she aims to defend her K1 sprint title.

Last weekend, the reigning world champion was sixth (43.241) in the K1 200m B Final at the Canoe Sprint World Cup event in Racice, Czech Republic.

Brown, who is based in Berkshire near GB Canoeing’s Dorney Lake training base, was second in her heat (43.006) and third in her semi-final (43.424) on Saturday but was over two-and-a-half tenths of a second off the podium positions in Sunday’s final.

The Wiltshire star hits the water at another World Cup in Szeged, Hungary, tomorrow afternoon, with fellow Bradford on Avon canoe club member and London 2012 gold medallist Ed McKeever also due to be in action in the men’s K1 200m.