Thursday, April 12, 2012
This weekend April 13 – 15 sees both the GB Canoeing Sprint and Slalom squads take to the water in order to claim a place on the Olympic team at this summer’s games
At the purpose built state of the art Lee Valley White Water Centre in Hertfordshire, 50 of Britain’s best Canoe Slalom athletes will be battling it out over a three day race series with their eyes firmly focused on claiming an Olympic place.
The selection event consists of three races, with the best two race results to count towards selection. With only one boat per class able to qualify for 2012, the action is guaranteed to be nail bitingly tight and packed full of highly dramatic racing as the athletes go all out on one of the world’s toughest courses, in order to beat their rivals, and win GB Canoeings nomination to Team GB.
Jurg Gotz – Canoe Slalom Head Coach commented: “It’s the biggest race of the year other than the Olympics and the athletes and coaches are itching to get out there and compete. The preparations have been good with a new level of consistency seen on the course, we just hope for good weather conditions over the weekend.”
On the flat water 130 miles north at the National Water Sports Centre, Nottingham, GB’s elite Sprint athletes will also take to the water at the first National Sprint Regatta of 2012, with high hopes of getting their Olympic campaigns off to a flying start. Olympic selection for the Sprint Team is a longer process taking in to account the April and June National regattas and the first two World Cup races in May, held in Poznan, Poland and Duisburg, Germany.
Spectators are certain to see aggressive explosive racing in Nottingham this weekend, as Olympic Champion Tim Brabants lines up against the K1 1000m field, fired up and ready to make amends for last year’s disappointment which resulted in him missing out on the World Championship place to Paul Wycherley.
In the K2 200m race European Champions and World Silver medallists Jon Schofield and Liam Heath will be looking to demonstrate that they are in fine form for 2012 with a win to secure their Team GB nomination. Team mate and fellow World Silver medallist Ed McKeever will also be looking to cement his Olympic nomination with a win in the K1 200m class.
Brendan Purcell – Canoe Sprint head coach commented: “I’m really excited to get the 1st part of the selection process underway after a good winter training programme, coaches and athletes alike just want to go out and race. We are really hoping to see our 200m men nail the nomination criteria on Saturday”
Whether in Nottinghamshire or Hertfordshire on the flat or the rough, the racing this coming weekend is going to be fast and furious as GB Canoeing athletes push themselves to the limits in order to get one step closer to their Olympic dreams.