London 2012: GB canoeist Tim Brabants confident of Olympic place

Reigning Olympic canoe sprint champion Tim Brabants says he is confident of beating 1000m rival Paul Wycherley to selection for the London Games.

The GB squad will head to Poznan in Poland for the second round of European qualification on 16-17 May.

Brabants and Wycherley are battling it out with each other to represent GB.

"It'll be one of us who goes to the Olympics, hopefully it'll be one of us on the podium. I think it will be me if I'm honest," Brabants told BBC South.

GB have so far qualified three boats for London 2012, and have another three host nation places.

Poznan will be an opportunity to qualify more boats and for individuals to impress selectors. While the boats are qualified, exactly who will fill the seats will not be announced until 14 June.

The Olympic canoe sprint event will take place at Dorney Lake in Berkshire during the second week of the Games, with the majority of the squad now living in and around the area.

One of the key battles is for the place in the K1 1000m men's race.

At the national championships last month, Beijing 2008 Olympic champion Brabants beat rival Wycherley in the first of three race-offs. Brabants edged their K1 1000m heat on Nottingham's Holme Pierrepont course by three hundredths of a second.

Wycherley beat Brabants last summer, earning himself the right to compete at the 2011 World Championships, but Brabants - who also won bronze over 500m in Beijing - has started his home Olympic year in excellent form.

Two races remain, at separate World Cup events in May, and the first to two wins will be selected in Team GB for London. As Brabants explains, he is relishing the rivalry.

"For the last 10 years I've never been contested in the 1000m," he said.

"My biggest competition has always come from abroad. Last year was a rubbish year having spent most of the year in a sling. Paul beat me in the selection race last year, so it showed me just how far behind I was in terms of selection."

Wycherley admits he is facing a huge battle to earn qualification for 2012 against the man he believes is the best canoeist in the world.

"It's a real honour to be compared to Tim, who is the reigning Olympic champion," said Wycherley.

"I'm just going out there and doing what I've always done, which is racing from A to B as fast as I can, and it turns out that Tim and I are having a very close race. These are exciting times and great for GB canoeing."

Wycherley added: "I am in absolutely no doubt that Tim is in fine form this year and a fantastic athlete, and in my mind the best 1000m paddler in the world.

"So I'm just going to go out there and do my very best and fight for every point and hope it goes my way like it did last year."

Top Stories