Lani Belcher is feeling upbeat on the road to Rio after claiming canoe sprint European Games silver in Baku.
Belcher missed out on selection for Team GB at London 2012 and admits she briefly considered her future in the sport.
But the 26-year old followed Ed McKeever's earlier bronze to win Great Britain's third medal of the Games, crossing the line in the marathon K1 5000m - in which she is a European champion and world medallist - just ahead of Hungary's Renata Csay. Long-time race leader Maryna Litvinchuk, of Belarus, took gold.
“It was a tough race because of the heat and on the first lap there was a bit of a tussle with boats and paddles crashing and I got caught up in it," said Belcher.
"I was just really pleased to then fight back and come away with a silver."
The marathon distance will not be part of the Olympic programme in Rio but Belcher insists much has been learned in Azerbaijan about her target events for next year, the K2 with Angela Hannah and K4 500m.
And with the World Championships in Milan eight weeks away, she insists there is reason for optimism.
“There have been some highs and lows this week," added Belcher.
"We were pleased with our heat in the K4, then we didn’t really step it up in the final, so there’s some work to be done there. But we will just take away all the positives and build on that going into the selections and the World Championships in Milan.
“With the K2 it’s only my second competition with Angela so even though we just missed out on the final, we are really pleased with how we raced our semi final and excited about building on that going forward.
“We have changed our training this year so we are working on that back end of our race now. So it’s exciting to know we can put ourselves in the first half of the race and now we can work on the back half of it and hopefully take a step forward and be up with everyone else.”
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