With just 200 days to go to the start of the London 2012 Olympic Games, it is full steam ahead for Great Britain’s Canoeists in both Olympic disciplines of Slalom and Sprint. After a solid 2011 season, winter training is well underway and anticipation for a successful Game this summer is high, with three medals including two gold the target.
This would build on GB Canoeing’s strong track record of medal success at European, World and Olympic level. Canoeing has won Olympic medals at four of the last five Games since 1992, and in 2008 Tim Brabant won GB’s first Olympic gold medal to become the sport’s most successful Olympian.
Looking forward to the year ahead, GB Canoeing’s Performance Director, John Anderson MBE said: “With just 200 days to go until the Opening Ceremony of the London Olympic Games our preparations are going to plan. The Olympic Slalom Course at Lee Valley has been in operation since April 2011 and is a wonderful facility for our sport. This will be one of the iconic venues of the London Olympic Games and will provide the athletes with a superb competition facility as well as creating a lasting legacy for our sport. The regatta course at Dorney Lake has seen several improvements in recent months and is now ready for the final Olympic overlay to complete the Canoe Sprint venue for the Games.
“Our sport continues to evolve and we see improvement in athlete performances year on year. In addition, there are enhancements to be made in technology and innovation. We have a philosophy of continuous improvement in our Olympic programme and we do everything possible to find the small margins of performance gain that can be made. In canoeing, there are always technical improvements to be made and we have made some adjustments to our training programme following the 2011 season. Since September 2011, our athletes in both Sprint and Slalom disciplines have been training at their home venues and making the most of the unusually mild and calm weather in the UK. However, many of them are now heading off for periods of warm weather training in Australia, Florida and South Africa.
“Now that we are in 2012, there is a great deal of excitement throughout the whole of our sport and we see the London Olympic Games as a real opportunity to showcase canoeing, a sport that can offer so much to people of all ages. Everyone is looking forward to the Games and the energy is being focused on delivering quality performances in every training session, between now and July 2012.”
Already away at his training base in South Africa, reigning Olympic Champion Tim Brabants, in the Sprint Men’s K1 1000m added: “Training in preparation for the Olympics is going very well for me. Having had a tough 2011 season fighting back from surgery and missing a whole winter of quality training, I am now back on form and in great shape. I am in the middle of a very tough training camp in Cape Town and making great gains. I can't wait to race again this year and compete to defend my Olympic title!”
Scotland’s David Florence, Olympic silver medallist in Canoe Slalom’s C1 event is preparing to leave for Australia next week for some quality training in the warmer Sydney climate. David said: "200 days seems very close. It's getting so exciting. I have to focus on Olympic selection first in mid-April and winter training leading towards this is going really well. I'm looking forward to getting a few weeks of warm weather training in Australia soon. It will give a good change of stimulus and being on a camp with my coach, Mark Delaney, will give us a chance to work together even more closely."
Selection for Team GB will take place in April for Slalom and between April and June for Sprint.