Scott Martlew receives much needed funding boost

Christchurch kayaker Scott Martlew just got a Christmas bonus which he hopes will translate into medals at the Tokyo Paralympics.

The extra cash meaning he can concentrate on what he does best - and that's paddle fast.

Three days out from Christmas, Mr Martlew was on the water first thing in the morning.

The 26-year-old has been given an early present with increased funding from High Performance Sport NZ.

"It's going to be a huge help leading into next year," he said.

Total investment to canoe racing has increased by $150,000 to $1.9 million. Some of that will go to Mr Martlew and his team.

"It just means less stress, in previous years we've been chasing funding," coach Leigh Barker said.

Mr Martlew could have had quite a different team before a 2010 high school rugby game changed his life.

"It was a Crusaders curtain raiser at the old AMI Stadium I got a bump to the leg, a tear to the muscle," Mr Martlew said.

An infection then set in.

"I had to have it amputated to save my life sort of thing, it all happened pretty quickly."

Mr Martlew had done a lot of paddling before his accident and returned to the sport around eight months later.

"We work on small things to give him more power because he only has 50 percent power with one leg," Mr Barker said.

The techniques helped Mr Martlew to eighth at the 2016 Rio Paralympics but he has been re-classified before Tokyo 2020.

His speciality is now the KL2 200 - he's ranked second in the world - though it's not his only event.

"They've actually just added in the 200 metre outrigger canoe so I'm aiming to qualify both boats into Tokyo," Mr Martlew said.

With funding in place, he's is eyeing up next year's World Cup and World Championships in Europe to cement selection for Tokyo.

While others enjoy the festive season, he's clocking up the kilometres, knowing in life and sport that every second counts.