CANOEING: Rio on the radar

This Is Wiltshire: Ed McKeever is in Brazil for a three-week training camp as he hones his preparations for his title defence in 2016 Ed McKeever is in Brazil for a three-week training camp as he hones his preparations for his title defence in 2016

KAYAK King Ed McKeever admits it feels like just yesterday that he became the toast of the nation thanks to his London 2012 heroics.

In reality, the 30-year-old thrilled the home crowds as he took home Olympic gold in his favoured K1 200m event almost a full 18 months ago.

Now McKeever is beginning to narrow his focus towards defending his crown at Rio 2016 and the Bradford on Avon ace is grabbing his first taste of the proposed Team GB base for the Games during a three-week training camp in Belo Horizonte.

“The last year-and-a-half has just gone so quickly – it still feels like London happened yesterday,” said McKeever, before he departed for Brazil.

“I think that the next two-and-half years will go just as quickly, so I’ve got to make sure that I’m doing the right things to be ready for 2016.

“It’s going to be nice to scope out what should be the holding camp for Rio.

“It’s going to be nice to paddle on clear water in the sunshine, rather than the polluted stuff, but the coaches will make sure that we know we’re there to work.

“I’ve been training hard for quite a while now but it’s the usual routine of three sessions a day.

“We change it every two weeks so it goes from two sessions on water and one in the gym to two sessions in the gym and one on water.”

McKeever, who was European and world champion in 2010, finished sixth at last year’s world championships in Germany but the Great Britain star is sure that he will get back to top form in the lead up to Rio.

He said: “I wasn’t too unhappy with last season and there are plenty of big events to concentrate on before the next Olympics.

“The big one this year is going to be the world championships again, which are in Moscow (in August), and next year there’s going to be the European Games in Azerbaijan.

“They’re going to be instead of a European championships and I’m really looking forward to that.

“It’s a multi-sport competition and it’s also going to be the Olympic qualification season.”

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