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McKeever given Jefferies' backing

August 10, 2012 17:51 pm

Do not bet against Ed McKeever clinching gold for Great Britain in the canoe kayak sprint, his team-mate Richard Jefferies warned.

McKeever stormed through his heats in the fastest time of the day and then won his semi-final in what turned out to be a mere formality at Eton Dorney. The 28-year-old former world and European champion, described by Jefferies as an "absolute animal" on the water, is now the hot favourite to win gold on Saturday.

Jefferies, who missed out on a place in the 200 metres canoe sprint final, said: "You wouldn't bet against Ed, would you? He's absolutely flying, he always is. He is so cool, calm and collected. He is such a nice guy as well."

He added: "Ed doesn't really say a lot but he then goes out and is an absolute animal. A lot of guys sit there with their headphones on, not looking but he is just there stretching off. He is not really about the spotlight and the ego. He just wants to go and be the best he can."

McKeever, a trainee accountant, spent the first week of the games in Barcelona preparing for the race where he will be watched by fiancee Anya Kuczha, a 26-year-old PE teacher.

Their wedding plans have been put on hold until September so McKeever, dubbed the "Usain Bolt of the water", can concentrate on winning gold. He has recorded one of the fastest-ever times over the distance (34.2 seconds), and won the world championships in 2010.

While Jefferies lost out in the semi-final, the pairing of Liam Heath and Jon Schofield made it through to the finals of the men's kayak double.

They are fancied for a medal but did not dominate their semi-final race, finishing second to the Russians, but Schofield said they would look to iron out any problems in an effort to make sure they were as well prepared as they can be for Saturday.

The 27-year-old said: "We gave the Russians too much on the start so we are going to try and rectify that. We have been rehearsing the rhythm at the start so we can stay really tightly together so there is no second guessing what the rhythm is going to be. We have been practising it enough times so we just have to execute it."

And Heath said he was "fairly confident" they could win a medal.

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