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Cawthorn: Nerves got the better of me

August 9, 2012 15:49 pm

Hopes of a British medal in the canoe sprint rest firmly with the 200 metre specialists after Rachel Cawthorn was sixth in the single kayak at Eton Dorney on Thursday.

Despite winning her heat, the 23-year-old failed to stamp her authority in the final and was left playing catch up behind Hungary's Dunuta Kozak, who went on to claim gold.

After a promising start to the competition, Cawthorn had a chance of a medal but admitted that with two days between the preliminary rounds and final, she allowed her nerves to get the better of her.

The former European champion from Guildford, Surrey, said: "I had a good start and I think that in the next 100m I just didn't nail as well as I did before. I probably needed to be a bit braver, to just hit it. I was probably just a bit too far down to come back at the end.

"I just tried to think of it as just another race but after the K4 yesterday being so close to a medal and then seeing what I could do in the semis, made me know that I was in with a chance, that I wasn't miles off. It was hard not think about that this morning and last night. I didn't really get any breakfast in. Well I did, but it came out."

While Cawthorn was disappointed to finish sixth, the British pairing of Louisa Sawers and Abigail Edmonds were happy with their third place in the B final of the women's double kayak.

Going in to the games, the British Canoe Union had been set a target of winning three medals - one more than the gold and bronze won by Tim Brabants in Beijing. The slalom side of the squad sealed a gold and silver in the two-man canoe event at the end of last week.

But as 35-year-old Brabants could only manage eighth in the single kayak 1000m after returning from a serious tendon injury, the pressure is now on the 200m sprinters Ed McKeever, Liam Heath and Jon Schofield, who compete in their heats on Friday.

Dubbed the 'Usain Bolt of the water", 28-year-old McKeever, a trainee accountant from Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire, races in the men's single kayak. Meanwhile, Heath, 27, from Guildford, and Schofield, 27, from Clitheroe, Lancashire, race together in the double kayak.

Jess Walker, 22, from Hampton Hill, London, is Britain's other medal chance. She races in the women's 200 metre kayak.

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