Jon Schofield insists it is all systems go to Rio as he and Liam Heath secured Great Britain’s first canoe sprint Olympic quota place in the men’s K2 200m as they finished fifth in the World Championship final in Milan.
The race was filled with controversy when a false start attributed to the British crew was not initially recalled and the race had to be re-run 45 minutes later.
However in the end it didn’t alter the final placings and in a very tight race with only 0.4 seconds separating the first five crews, Heath and Schofield had to settle for fifth place.
“Our focus was always to win and secondly to qualify the Olympic place, so it is half a job done today, however we can now fully focus on preparing for Rio next year,” Schofield said.
“It was the same for everyone having to re-run the race and I am proud of the way we turned round so quickly and still qualified the place.
“Although we had a conservative start as we didn’t want another false start against us, it was a good race and we didn’t make any mistakes. It just shows how tough racing is at this level.”
In the last race of the day there was also a hugely promising performance from the women’s K4 500m crew of Rebi Simon, Jessica Walker, Rachel Cawthorn and Louisa Sawers, winning their semi-final in a fast time and topping the overall standings 0.07 second ahead of Germany.
This put them firmly into the A Final and a chance to secure that all important Olympic quota spot.
By his own high standards London 2012 Olympic champion Ed McKeever had a disappointing semi-final, with a poor start costing him the 0.2 seconds that ultimately saw him finish in fifth place and relegated to the B Final. However, a win could well be enough to secure the place.
Angela Hannah and Lani Belcher finished ninth in the women’s K2 500m A final, while Rachel Cawthorn finished eighth in the K1 500m equivalent.
© Sportsbeat 2015