Sawley canoeist to compete in Olympics

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SAWLEY sprint canoeist Jon Schofield has secured a dream ticket to next year’s Olympics after winning silver with his teammate at the World Kayaking Championships.

Partnering Liam Heath, the pair claimed second place in the K-2 200m sprint in Szeged, Hungary, over the weekend, and in the process qualified for London 2012.

The pair got off to a flying start and pushed hard during the sprint dash, but ultimately had to settle for second place, as the reigning French pair retained their gold medal.

However, having bettered last year’s third-place finish, the current European champs will be hoping to go one better next year as they look to continue their impressive form.

The London games will be the first time the K-2 200m event will take place, having replaced the longer K-2 500m event in which Schofield used to compete with former partner Ben Brown.

Despite winning single and double kayaking world titles, Jon and Ben failed to qualify for the Beijing Olympics, finishing ninth in the 2007 World Championships.

The switch to the new shorter format has benefitted Schofield’s explosive speed accross the water, and the former Loughborough student has elevated to become one of the leading stars within the sport.

Schofield and Heath will be well aware of the formidable threat of the French, but the chance to showcase his abilities in their first Olympic games and potentially win a medal in front of a home crowd, can only drive them on to further success.