Gold for Heath as Schofield hangs up his paddle
Canoe Sprint

Gold for Heath as Schofield hangs up his paddle

01 June 2019 / 16:39

Liam Heath took a crowning gold on German waters on the day that two-time Olympic medallist Jon Schofield raced in GB colours for the final time.

Olympic champion Heath stormed to victory in his specialist K1 200m discipline at the Canoe Sprint World Cup in Duisburg, blitzing the field to finish in 34.647 seconds, with France’s Maxime Beaumont his nearest challenger half-a-second back.

And the 34-year-old was delighted to keep up his rare form with the World Championships fast-approaching as he went back-to-back in world cup events.  

“It’s incredible to win two gold medals in the space of two weekends. I got a bit of an indication from the times I was doing in training but it is about training to execute them in the race,” he said.

“Knowing that capability is inside of you; [you] just want to get that execution and that comes with experience.

“I am really happy with the two gold medals and I have ticked all the boxes in terms of what I wanted to get out of these two weekends.

“It was another solid run-out. I have had some solid runs really throughout the heats, the semis and the final, really. I executed it exactly how I wanted to.

“I’m jumping back into training once I get home, after a bit of family time, to defend the speed, endurance and performances going into the World Championships.”

On an emotional day, Heath later marked Schofield’s final international race, carrying his boat back to the shed following his former K2 partner’s fourth-place finish in the K1 200m C final.

The pair took bronze together in the K2 200m at London 2012 before going one better four years later with silver in the same event at Rio.

And Heath was quick to pay tribute to his old boatmate’s stellar career.

“Jon’s work ethic and approach to training is incredible and I am very privileged and honoured to have paddled with him,” he continued.

Meanwhile, performance director of British Canoeing Paul Ratcliffe added: “He will leave a legacy as one of the most successful canoe sprinters in British history, with back-to-back Olympic medals."

Elsewhere in Duisburg, there were eighth-place finishes for Jess Walker in the K1 200m and Afton Fitzhenry in the C1 500m, while the K4 semi-finals continue on Sunday.  

Sportsbeat 2019