Friday, 15 June 2012

Great Britain and Belgium present their Sprint teams for London 2012

Maxime Richard will paddle the K1 200 for Belgium
The national teams going to London Summer Games keep being announced, so today we present the British and Belgian paddlers selected to defend their colours at Eton Dorney venue in August.

Yesterday, at the olympic venue itself, the nine paddlers (by the way, this morning the Team GB has confirmed one more quota place given to their women team) selected to compete for the Union Jack were introduced to the media and public audience. Belgium too has already got an official list of three paddlers for just two boats qualified, but with a very high level.

The British team seized the sunny day yesterday at Eton Dorney to present their Sprint team, which so far, waiting for the fifth woman place, to be announced on June 25th, is composed by:

Team GB, yesterday at Eton Dorney
K1 1.000:            Tim Brabants
K1 200:               Ed McKeever
K2 200:               Liam Heath
                            Jon Schofield
C1 200 & 1.000: Richard Jefferies

K1 500:               Rachel Cawthorn
K1 200:               Jessica Walker
K4 500:               Rachel Cawthorn
                            Jessica Walker
                            Angela Hannah
                            Louisa Sawers

A very high level squad, most of all regarding the Men Kayak, where I think there should be at least two medals out of three potential. Tim Brabants is facing his fourth (and probably last) olympic games after a hard trial where Paul Wycherley made him squeeze until the last drop of his world-class quality. On the other hand, the C1 Richard Jefferies, under the coaching of a great veteran like Andrew Train, at his 25 years could be far from the medals, but getting the highest experience to go for the future with true guarantee at Worlds and next Olympics in Rio 2016. At Women, maybe the closest to the medals could be Rachel Cawthorn, maybe more specialized in 5.000 than in 500, but the absence of current World Champion Nicole Reinhardt, due to a shoulder injury, could open a bit more the chances for those entering the A Final and Cawthorn would have then a plus counting on the cheering of the British crowd.

For those interested in reading the wise expertise of former World Champion Ivan Lawler on this topic, you can read at this link his thoughts after World Cup 2 in Duisburg, where Brabants got the British spot by beating Wycherley.

Olivier Cauwenbergh and Laurens Pannecoucke in action
On the other side, Belgium brings only two boats, the K1 200 and the K2 1.000, but both with true chances of entering the A final. Olivier Cauwenbergh and Laurens Pannecoucke made their homework last year at Szeged and got the passport after being fourth, sad position, but allowing them to have a full year ahead to prepare accurately their peak form for August this year. Maybe that’s why they could only be nineth in their last international appearance at Poznan World Cup 1, four seconds behind other couples, some not even qualified for London, like the Spaniards Hernanz and Cosgaya. Maybe because they are waiting to be at their most in London? Only 50 days left to discover it. In the K1 200, the explosive Maxime Richard qualified for the Games by winning the European Preolympic on the bumpy and windy venue of Poznan on May 17th. It will be difficult to fight against monsters like McKeever, Siemionowski, Rauhe, de Cesare… but look out if the D day becomes windy, which is a true chance at Eton Dorney, Richard has already showed strong on that field. The Belgian team, then, is at follows:

K1 200:        Maxime Richard
K2 1.000:     Olivier Cauwenbergh
                     Laurens Pannecoucke

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