Cawthorn in Olympic canoe medal hunt

Rachel Cawthorn insists she’s in the right shape to get into the London 2012 canoe sprint medal mix – but admits it will be tough.

Eurosport

Cawthorn has emerged as Britain’s leading female sprint canoeist in the last four years, winning a gold and three bronzes at recent European Championships.

She joined forces with Jess Walker, Angela Hannah and Louisa Sawers as Great Britain finished fifth in a K4 500m final won by a powerful Hungarian quartet.

But on Thursday she will line up in the K1 500m final after qualifying comfortably through her heats and semi-final.

Last year she finished fourth in the event at the World Championships in Hungary and Cawthorn thinks the home crowd, whose noise has been dubbed the ‘Dorney roar’, could make all the difference.

“I’m certainly going in confident, it will be my sixth race in four days but you can’t really feel tired when you’ve got that level of support behind you,” she said.

“I know how tough it will be. I feel right at home here now and if I can put my best possible race down then I’ll be happy.

“After the illnesses I had in the winter I feel that the last couple of months couldn’t have gone better, I’m pushing on and getting better with every race.

“I’ve got one more race at my home Olympics, this chance will never come again and that makes you more determined.

“I’m going to race hard and see how many people I can get past, hopefully that will mean a good result.”

Cawthorn was happy with her team in the K4 500m, a discipline in which British canoeists do not traditionally enjoy much success against the powerhouse nations of Eastern Europe.

“We put everything down and the crowd really helped us along, we couldn’t have done anymore,” she added.

“This is the first time in a long time that we’ve got into a final so this crew has come a long way.

“It’s a bit frustrating to come fifth but the standard just keeps improving and the top nations are so strong and we just can’t get passed them yet.”

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