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Kailey Harlen is a sprint kayaker who was awarded a Tier 3 Scholarship within the 2021 Sport Australia Hall of Fame Scholarship and Mentoring Program.

Kailey was born in Wahroonga, NSW, in 2001 and took up sprint kayaking with the Sydney Northern Beaches Kayak Club in 2017, after representing NSW in sports such as football, touch football, swimming and athletics. She competes in K1, K2 and K4 disciplines.

Kailey now trains with the NSW Institute of Sport squad and achieved success within 12 months of taking up the sport. At the 2018 state titles, she won every U/18 female event, and just two months later repeated the feat at the Australian National Championships. This earned her a place in the Australian team for the 2018 Junior and U/23 World Championships, where she finished sixth in the A final.

2019 brought more success for Kailey. Dominance of her age group at the Australian National Championships earned her another spot for the world championships, but she was unable to compete against the world’s best after an injury during training. She still managed to be crowned Junior Paddler of the Year by Paddle Australia that year.

As a junior, Kailey made the A final in all of her events at the 2020 Australian National Championships and joined her third Australian team, this time for the world championships in Germany. She narrowly missed selection for the 2020 Olympic Games and is determined to chase Olympic glory in Paris.

Kailey is currently studying for a Diploma of Sport Management (High Performance), and is motivated to give back to aspiring athletes as a health worker, psychologist and motivational speaker for school students.

I feel extremely honoured, grateful and excited with this opportunity I have been given. With this Scholarship I will be able to purchase items that will have a great impact on my performance and help me progress into elite levels of my sport. The recognition of SAHOF will allow me to create connections with current and past athletes from various sporting codes which will be an exciting and worthwhile experience.” – Kailey Harlen on being selected as a 2021 Tier 3 Scholarship Holder.

Awards, Honours & Achievements

  • 2018: Junior World Championships – 6th(A Final, K1 500m)
  • 2018: Personal Excellence Award, NSWIS – Finalist
  • 2019 & 2018: Australian National Female Junior Champion
  • 2019: Winner of the Junior Paddler of the Year Award – Paddle Australia
  • 2019: Junior and U23 World Championship Teams – Representative (unable to compete due to injury)
  • 2020: Open Women’s K1 500 and K1 200 – Nationally ranked #5 in both
  • 2020: U23 World Championship Team – Representative (cancelled due to COVID-19)
  • 2021: Sport Australia Hall of Fame Scholarship Holder – Tier 3



Bio picture credit: Allan Coker


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