Jon Boyton admits he is loving every minute of his European Games adventure in Team GB colours as he powered through to the men’s K1 1000m final.
Boyton arrived in Baku representing Team GB for the first time and quickly made a good impression, finishing his heat third in 3:38.877 minutes to qualify for the semi-final.
But the 27-year-old wasn’t done there, returning hours later to cross the line in 3:27.898 to take his place in Monday’s showpiece.
And after getting off to a strong start, Boyton insists he is on cloud nine in Azerbaijan.
“I have felt on the edge of breaking through into the A final at the last two World Cup events, so I am pleased that it has come together today in the European Games,” he said.
“This is my first A final at a major competition, so I am really pleased with that and I am looking forward to tomorrow.
“This is my first time as part of Team GB and it is nice to feel part of something bigger than just my own sport and to represent my country in this way.
“It is also great having so much support, the BOA think of everything and do everything possible to make things go smoothly.”
Boyton wasn’t the only one celebrating on Sunday as Rachel Cawthorn won her K1 500m semi-final to progress into her medal race as the one to watch.
Cawthorn’s semi-final time of 1:48.028 was more than five seconds better than that in her heat and she is now champing at the bit to get back out on the water.
“I felt really good today in both races and managed to do what I intended to do in my race plan,” she said.
“Up against the Olympic champion in the heat I knew would be a reliable indicator of my form, although with only the race winner going straight through to the final I eased up once she was ahead to conserve energy for the semi-final. I was then able to pick the pace up to make the final.
“It is really cool being part of Team GB again and I enjoyed one night in the Games Village before moving out to the regatta venue.
“Although it is now just canoeing out here, there is a great atmosphere and it is a bit more exciting than usual.
“The standard of competition is really high with all the top paddlers here and off the back of the World Cup series it is good to get another opportunity to race again before the World Championships in Milan.”
Elsewhere, the women’s K4 came second in their 500m heat to go straight through to the final, although Lani Belcher and Angela Hannah missed out on their K2 500m showpiece by just 0.16 seconds as they crossed their semi-final in fourth.
Timothy Pendle and Andrew Danels also failed to reach the K2 500m final as they finished their semi-final in eighth, while James Styan went one better in his C1 1000m.
© Sportsbeat 2015