Sawley’s Jon Schofield has guaranteed his place at the Rio Olympics in the K2 200m canoeing.
Schofield, who, along with Liam Heath, took bronze at London four years ago, earned a chance to improve on that performance as they set a new course record at the National Water Sports Centre, Nottingham on day two of the British Canoeing Sprint Olympic selection trails.
In the final event of the session, the pair showed their true class, finishing in 32.31.
Schofield said: “It was a solid performance, nothing spectacular, but to book our place hopefully at our second Olympic Games is pretty special.
“We will work on getting faster and faster, which we need to do to be challenging for that gold medal, but we have our plans to do that.
“It will be our first foreign Olympic Games, which will be interesting, and we absolutely know what it is all about now, so we can focus on our performance.
“It is an absolutely iconic venue and it will be a unique opportunity to race there.”
Earlier, Liam had shown he is also a force to be reckoned with in the single kayak event, taking the win and confining the Olympic champion Ed McKeever into second place, with former Clitheroe Royal Grammar School pupil Jon in third.
However, with Liam’s Olympic berth already secured in the K2, courtesy of having finished fifth in K2 200m at last year’s World Championships in Milan, Ed will still go to Duisburg next month to try and secure one of the two remaining Olympic quota places in the K1 200m.
Jon and Liam have also been announced by British Canoeing as part of the senior Canoe Sprint team to compete at the European Continental Olympic Qualifying event next month, along with those selected for the ICF World Cup series, in Duisburg between May 20th-22nd, and Racice from May 27th-29th.
The World Cup team will be headlined by Liam and Jon, who will be looking for a repeat of their excellent form at the British Olympic trials and now armed with the confidence that their names have already been written onto the nomination sheet for Rio.
A good performance at their first international regatta of the season would give them a further boost and show that they are well on track ahead of their second Olympic Games.