Lizzie Neave admits has never felt so good physically ahead of what she hopes will be her most memorable canoe slalom World Championships yet.
Neave won the K1 title at the British Canoeing trials last year but it was a rare highlight from 2014 due to a back injury she suffered on the final day of the 2013 World Championships and then a broken rib early into last season.
But the 28-year-old has rid herself of all injuries and is hoping she can produce her best at the World Championships on home soil, which get underway today.
Neave, who finished 12th at London 2012, said: “I had a really good few months of rehab. I went to an intensive rehabilitation unit for athletes at Bisham Abbey and I am now in a better physical level than I have ever been so I’m really happy with my form at the moment.
“I am really happy with my preparation leading into the World Championships. I have had a few races now back at world level and having some times and results that are competitive with the best in the world means I am quite confident.
“I have previously medalled at the World Championships with a bronze in 2009 and I would love to medal again.
“Making the top ten would be awesome in itself because there are so many good girls racing in the world nowadays and it is a really tough start line so I will just go out with my plan and try to deliver it as well as I can on the day.”
Neave has shown enough already this season to suggest she has a chance of medalling, finishing fourth in the European Championships and winning bronze at the fifth World Cup in France.
Regardless of the outcome, this is likely to be a stand out World Championships for Neave and her team-mates with the event taking place at Lee Valley White Water Centre, where the elite British Canoeing squad are based.
“It would be really special if I could medal in this race. I have won medals at world level so to do it in a home World Championships would be amazing,” she added.
“I think everyone is excited to compete on their home course. For a lot of people it is probably their favourite course so to have the opportunity to race in front of the home crowd will be really awesome.
“This will probably be the most exciting World Championships I have competed in and it is probably the same for everybody else with it being at home.
“The UK has not hosted a lot of international races so I think it will be a really special event for everyone.
“The course at Lee Valley is really tough but having trained here since 2011, I think we know the course inside out.
“A lot of the other countries’ have been training here a lot so will know it well also but hopefully on the day, us knowing the course a bit better will prove beneficial.”
© Sportsbeat 2015