CANOEING: Ed gets a silver tonic

This Is Wiltshire: Ed McKeever (7) pictured during last Sunday’s European final in Germany Ed McKeever (7) pictured during last Sunday’s European final in Germany

OLYMPIC champion Ed McKeever says the frustration of watching his rivals compete from his sofa gave him the motivation to push for the podium at last weekend’s European Sprint Championships in Germany.

The 30-year-old, from Bradford on Avon, who won the Olympic title at London 2012, claimed his fourth European medal in five years as he took silver in his favoured K1 200m event in Brandenburg on Sunday.

McKeever finished second with a time of 36.029, narrowly behind Serbia’s Marko Dragosavljevic (35.841), but was happy with his return to form after illness wrecked the early part of his season, forcing him to sit out the World Cup series.

“I’m pleased. It was nice to come away with something because I’ve been ill and missed a lot of the season,” McKeever told the Wiltshire Times.

“I had a bit of a virus and had to watch everyone else racing on television. I tried to use that as extra motivation when I came back and I think it helped.

“There was a strong headwind in Germany, and that’s not good for me because I’m one of the lighter guys, but I still managed to do well.

“There’s not long until the World Championships (in Moscow, on August 6-10) and the plan is to try and do well there too. I feel good and the virus is all gone.

“We’ve got a training camp in Bulgaria this weekend. It’s somewhere we’ve been before and it will be a bit of a stopover on the way to Russia.”

McKeever’s Bradford on Avon Canoe Club teammate Hannah Brown was also in action in Brandenburg and was happy to clinch third-place in the women’s K1 200m B final.

The 24-year-old, competing in her first-ever Euros, was third in her heat and sixth in her semi-final before crossing the line in 45.019 in Sunday’s B final.

Brown will join McKeever in Bulgaria next week after earning a spot in the Great Britain team for next month’s Worlds in Moscow.

“I’ve gone to the World Cups and the Europeans and now I’m going to the Worlds too, so it’s been the perfect season,” she said.

“I was against some world class paddlers last weekend and I raced the best I could, so I was happy with it.

“It was exciting because the wind was causing a few waves, which we don’t really like in flatwater racing, but it did eventually die down.

“I’ve got a lot more to be pleased about than earlier in the season and let’s see how it goes at the Worlds.”

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