Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Canoeing: British canoeist Ed McKeever boosts Olympic hopes with world cup gold


British canoeist Ed McKeever made a perfect start to his Olympic preparations by winning gold at the world cup in Poznan.

After a blistering start, the European champion kept Spain’s Saul Craviotto and the Russia’s Maxim Molochkov at bay as he powered into a strong head wind. Topping 170 strokes per minute, McKeever clocked a time of 36.92 seconds.

“The race itself was really good. I mucked up my start in the semi-final so before the final my main focus was getting away cleanly,” he said.

The 28-year-old has been a consistent medal winner in the 200m K1 (single kayak) event since 2010 when it was introduced as an Olympic discipline and he is among the favourites to take gold come August.

“As much as it was good to get 'one over' on my competitors, it was more a personal test so we see the areas I need to work on,” he said.

“I'm doing everything I can to turn up on the day of the Olympic final and be in the best form of my life.”

Team mates Liam Heath and Jon Schofield claimed silver in the double kayak over the same distance, having suffered a poor start. They will join the former world champion when all three make their Olympic debuts this summer.

GB performance director John Anderson said: "It was fantastic to see our athletes make the podium today. It is great to see our most consistent athletes are still delivering at the highest level in what is the first big race of the season."

The team’s next test will come this weekend when they race at the second world cup of the season in Duisburg.