Heath thrilled after retaining European Championship crown

Olympic gold medallist Liam Health believed the conditions were perfect for him to set a phenomenal time and retain his K1 200m title at the European Championships in Plovdiv.

Heath, who also took the European Championship crown in 2016, pipped Hungary’s Bence Horvath by 0.07 seconds with a time of 33.38 seconds, the world’s fastest ever men’s K1 200m effort.

Serbia’s Marko Dragosavljevic snatched third but the day belonged to Heath who was confident of producing a quick time in the Czech Republic.

He told British Canoeing: “I always knew this could be a quick course from the times that were put down at the European junior and under 23s last year.

“The conditions today allowed for it.  It was dead calm, there was a bit of rain flattening the water, the air and water were nice and warm, and I was in good condition for it.

“It’s very rare you get the opportunity to race with all those boxes ticked.”

Heath retained his title with a time that eclipsed his previous best by 0.4 seconds.

And the 32-year-old is now aiming to add the World title to his European and Olympic gold medals next month.

He added: “It’s another thing I‘m looking to tick off this year and it’s something that’s really driving me forwards at the moment,

“Tim Brabant has been World, Euro and Olympic Champ at the same time, so that’s something that I’m hoping to achieve.

“It’s all about getting onto the start line in the best condition and pushing yourself down the race to test yourself and see what you have got.”

Elsewhere the women’s K2 200m partnership of Hannah Brown and Angela Hannah agonisingly missed out on a podium place.

The duo were pipped by 0.1 of a second but their time of 37.217 is the second fastest time ever by a British pair.

“We are improving with every race - we go out and attack it in a certain way and we learn for the next one,” said Brown.

“It’s been a good journey so far and a pretty good championships. Moving forwards for the worlds we are going to take what we learnt back and we’ve got a good block of training at home, so it’s exciting."

Sportsbeat 2017