SAWLEY’S Jon Schofield is going for gold after officially being unveiled in Team GB for London 2012.
The 26-year-old was named as part of the nine-man kayak squad with K2 partner Liam Heath.
The pair have been prolific of late, winning the national regatta in Nottingham, and claiming silver medals in respective Canoe Sprint World Cup races in Poznan, Poland, and Duisberg, Germany.
“We’ve had two World Cup runs recently and they were our main opportunity before the Olympics to race the opposition,” said Schofield.
“We picked up two silver medals, which is quite positive for us because it shows we are well in the medal hunt.
“It also showed us what we need to improve on, and that’s what we’ve been working hard on.
“It shows we are certainly heading in the right direction.
“We need to be aiming for a medal because we feel we are good enough.
“It will be a wide open race on the day so we don’t want to assume anything. There’s probably about eight boats capable of winning a medal.”
But before the duo embark on the biggest race of their lives at the man-made Olympic home of British flat-water canoeing, Eton’s Lake Dorney, they have one final dress rehearsal – The European Championships on Lake Jarun in Zagreb, Croatia, this weekend.
And Schofield sees the race as an opportunity to eye up the competition – France’s World champions Jouve and Hybois, Russian pairing Postrigay and Dyachenko and German duo Rauhe and Ems – for the final time.
And it’s also a chance to be crowned European champions for the third year running.
“We are happy with our form,” said Schofield. “We’ve demonstrated we’re capable of finishing in the medals even in bad races, so that’s another positive.
“We’ve focused our energies in to rectifying any weaknesses, and we will put that in to practice in the European Championships.
“This is the last one, which makes it all seem very real.
“After this we focus on the Olympics, I can’t quite explain how that makes me feel.
“I’m not nervous, I think it’s more excitement because it will be such a great experience.
“The set-up is incredible, we know what to expect and there will be a lot of spectators. Whatever happens, it will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
Schofield admitted that his official inclusion into Team GB was one of the best moments of his life – but the very best could be yet to come as he targets a gold medal at the Olympics.
“It’s one of those few moments where you look back and ruminate what you’ve done, becoming an Olympian,” he said.
“We got to wear our track suits and officially announce that we’d made the Olympics. It was special.
“Only nine kayakers will be able to say they’ve competed in the Olympics in their own country, and to be one of them is an absolute privilege and something that will stay with me for the rest of my life.
“We’re confident that we can perform under pressure, and there won’t be any more pressure than performing at the Games. Hopefully it will bring out the best in us.
“We are determined and the gold medal is definitely a realistic goal.
“We’ve beaten all our opponents at one time, and we’ve been the most consistent crew for the past three years.
“Without a doubt we’ll be aiming for gold.”