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Nine Sprint Canoeists Selected to go Flat-out for Team GB

June 14, 2012 10:30 am

The British Olympic Association (BOA) has today announced the nine athletes selected to represent Team GB in the flat-water Canoe Sprint at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Eight of the athletes will compete in the kayak across six events, while one will race in the canoe in two events.  The announcement was made today at Eton Dorney in Buckinghamshire, which will host the Canoe Sprint events between 6th and 11th of August.

The athletes that have been selected to represent Team GB are:

Men’s K1 200m

  • Edward McKeever

Men’s K2 200m

  • Liam Heath
  • Jonathan Schofield   

Men’s K1 1000m

  • Tim Brabants

Men’s C1 200m & Men’s C1 1000m

  • Richard Jefferies

Women’s K1 200m

  • Jessica Walker 

Women’s K1 500m

  • Rachel Cawthorn

Women’s K4 500m

  • Jessica Walker
  • Rachel Cawthorn
  • Angela Hannah
  • Louisa Sawers

CLICK HERE to view full athlete profiles

Taking to the kayak for his fourth games will be 35-year-old Tim Brabants, who became Britain’s most decorated sprint canoeist by winning gold in the Men’s K1 1000m at the Beijing Games four years ago.  It was the first gold medal that a British athlete had won in any discipline.

The London Games also marks the inauguration of 200m events, and Edward McKeever has been selected to race in the Men’s K1 200m after winning the gold in the first two World Cup events of 2012.  McKeever also won gold at the World Championships and European Championships in 2010 and silver in 2011.

The partnership of Jonathan Schofield and Liam Heath, who have won two silver medals in their World Cup events this year, will compete in the Men’s K2 200m.  The pairing also won silver at the 2011 World Championships in Szeged.

Richard Jefferies will be the only British athlete to race in the canoe where  he is set to compete in both the Men’s C1 200m and C1 1000m events.  The 25-year-old from the Isle of Wight was fast-tracked into canoeing through UK Sport’s Sporting Giants programme.

22-year-old Jessica Walker, who made her Olympic debut in Beijing in the K2 500m, will become Britain’s first representative in the Women’s K1 200m event.  The women’s K1 500m race will be contested by Rachel Cawthorn, who won gold over 1000m at the 2010 European Championships in Trasona and bronze over the Olympic distance of 500m, going on to  match the 500m achievement at the 2010 World Championships.

The two individual female canoeists will combine their efforts in the Women’s K4 500m, where they will be joined in the kayak by Angela Hannah and Louisa Sawers who will both be making their first appearance at an Olympic Games.

The addition of the sprint canoeists brings the total number of athletes officially selected to compete for Team GB at London 2012 to 242 across twenty sport disciplines: archery, athletics – marathon, badminton, boxing, canoe slalom, canoe sprint, cycling, diving, fencing, hockey, modern pentathlon, rowing, sailing, shooting, swimming, synchronised swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, triathlon and weightlifting.

The athletes were formally nominated to the BOA for selection to Team GB by GB Canoeing, the National Governing Body for canoe sprint in the UK.

Team GB Chef de Mission Andy Hunt said:

“The Canoe Sprint team has really progressed since Tim Brabants won the first ever medal for Team GB by taking bronze in Sydney back in 2000.

“The fans in attendance at Eton Dorney will be treated to a spectacular competition at a stunning venue and this is a great opportunity for our athletes to win medals on home waters.

“Having a veteran and defending Olympic champion like Tim in the team will be a huge inspiration to everyone involved, and it is a chance for the younger competitors and the debutants to use that kind of motivation to create their own Olympic legacy.”

John Anderson, GB Canoeing Performance Director and Team GB Canoeing Team Leader said:

“I am delighted that our canoe sprint team has been officially selected today after what has been a tough process over the last two months.  It is both the largest and the strongest team we have had in the last four Olympic Games and I would like to extend my congratulations to all the athletes and coaches and wish them all the best for the Games”

Brendan Purcell, National Performance Coach said:

“It is great to have finally selected our team and I believe we have a strong and exciting group of athletes with the ability to challenge for the podium in a number of events.

“Our 200m men have been consistently delivering medal winning performances over the last few years and the women’s K4 were fourth at the 2011 World Championships.  In Tim Brabants we have a hugely experienced Olympic champion who will be out to defend his title on home soil this year . It is also a really exciting opportunity for Richard Jefferies who four years ago didn’t know what a canoe looked like.  He has come through the Sporting Giants programme and undoubtedly has a big future ahead of him.”

Ed McKeever said:

 “It seems like just yesterday I was watching London being announced as the host city for 2012, but that was seven years ago!  The next eight weeks until my race are going to fly by and I am excited and proud to be able to represent our country at the biggest sporting event the world has ever seen.”

Liam Heath said:

“Securing my selection for Team GB is an awesome feeling, a mixture of accomplishment, excitement and pride. Being able to compete as part of Team GB at a home Olympic Games is an incredible honour that has been achieved through sheer hard work, but it is well worth it!”

Jonathan Schofield said:

“It's a dream come true to be competing at the London Olympics.  To be in an exclusive team of British sporting legends is something I will treasure for the rest of my life.  It's all coming round very fast now, but we are focused on delivering our best possible race in August and fighting for the medals.”

Tim Brabants said:

“I am really excited to be selected for my fourth Olympic Games.  Now the selection process is complete, I can really focus on defending my Olympic title in London 2012.  I am also really looking forward to seeing the 200m boys racing and hopefully winning the medals they deserve.” 

Richard Jefferies said:

“Four years ago representing Team GB was one of those dreams along with being a rock star and dating a super model.  Now thanks to UK Sport and GB Canoeing one of those dreams is now reality and I can’t thank them enough for helping to make it a dream come true.”

Jessica Walker said:

“I am looking forward to going to my second Olympic Games and especially excited it is a home Games.  All the girls are working hard to get the very best out of ourselves as a crew and it is a privilege to share this experience with my team mates.”

Rachel Cawthorn said:

“I am so excited to officially be a part of Team GB.  It is a dream I’ve had since before I even knew what a kayak was and it has actually become a reality.  I feel especially proud to have been selected from such a tough, strong, competitive group of girls.  I am looking forward to getting super stuck in now and focus on giving my best possible performance for the Team at the Olympic Games.”

Angela Hannah said:

“The last few weeks of selection have been a real whirlwind.  I am really excited to be selected but still struggling to believe it!  I am looking forward to working with the rest of our crew to produce our best possible performance at the Games.”

Louisa Sawers said:

“I am so proud to be selected as part of Team GB.  With the added excitement of it being a home Olympics, it will be an experience I will never forget.”