Canoe Sprint: Team GB's Rachel Cawthorn storms into final

 

Britain's Rachel Cawthorn booked her place in the final of the women's sprint kayak with an impressive performance today at Eton Dorney.

The 23-year-old won her heat in the K1 500 metres impressively and then came second in her semi-final, raising the prospect of a medal for Team GB on Thursday.

Cawthorn was in fifth at the half way stage of her semi-final but with the home support behind her managed to paddle up the field and qualify automatically.

But there was disappointment for Louisa Sawers, 24, and 20-year-old Abigail Edmonds, who failed to reach the final of the women's double kayak.

Speaking after the race, Cawthorn, from Guildford, Surrey, revealed the secret of her success was to do a couple of pilates headstands before each race.

She said: "I put everything in to the last bit. The crowd helped so much to keep me going at the end.

"I think because I was up with everyone, I was able to come through. It feels like my own lake, like it's my home. The crowd was awesome.

"At half-way, it was now or never, go. I was aware that I was up. It was shaking so much, I thought I was going to fall off."

The former European champion added: "I don't really have any lucky stuff anymore. I used to have a lucky hairband and a lucky penny but I abandoned them a couple of years ago when I thought I didn't actually need them.

"But before the race I do a couple of headstands. Everything is planned out to the last minute. I just do a bit of pilates before I go because it's part of my routine. It switches on my core and prepares me to go out."

While Edmonds and Sawers were disappointed not to qualify for Thursday's final, they said the enjoyed the Olympic experience.

Edmonds, from Guildford, said: "To be here like this and see everyone surrounding you, you get a real buzz.

"I set out to enjoy it as that's the best way to get the best out of myself. It may not have been fantastic but it was a pretty solid race for us."

Sawers, from Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, added: "When they call out your name it feels so good. We did all we could. Lane one is not the best but we just did our race plan. When we went in to the bucket at the start I thought we had to enjoy this and use the crowd. It lifted us up and felt so good."

PA

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