Canoe slalom world championships: GB’s Gibson prays for London 2012 spirit

Eilidh Gibson described the afternoon Team GB won gold and silver in the canoe slalom at London 2012 as one of the most inspiring moments of her life and three years on the Manchester paddler is hoping the crowd at Lee Valley can once again cheer them on to glory.

Lee Valley White Water Centre – the scene of one of Team GB’s most successful days during London 2012 – will be hosting the World Championships next week when the competition returns to the UK for the first time in 20 years.

Gibson is one of 14 competitors from these shores hoping to book a Rio 2016 spot in each canoe slalom event for Team GB ahead of their individual selection trials in October.

And she admits she can’t wait to take to the water for the event from September 16-20.

“It’s really exciting to have a home World Championships as it’s not very often that happens,” she said. “We are in a team environment and everyone seems to be excited about it.

“Most of my family are going to come down to watch and to have the home crowd pushing you forward will be massive.

“I got to watch all of the semi-finals at London 2012 which was absolutely incredible. The crowd was amazing and to see that C2 final when Team GB won gold and silver was definitely one of the most inspiring moments of my life.

“The home crowd makes so much of a difference and in the sprint to the finish when you’re absolutely knackered, just having that extra push will make a difference. “

Gibson has enjoyed a successful year, making four finals out of five and finishing sixth in the senior European Championships and fifth in the Under-23 event.

Canoe slalom is an adrenaline-packed sport where the winners and losers are determined by literally millimetres and home advantage more often than not plays a role in the standings due to athletes being familiar with the course

So with the World Championships taking place at Lee Valley, where the British Canoeing squad train, it is hoped the team can capitalise on home advantage.

However, Gibson, who now lives in Edinburgh, said: “We know this water better than anyone else in the world, but in canoeing the best in the world are going to be the best in the water regardless of where it is.

“I just want to paddle my best and stick to my plans, and focus on myself. It would be great to make a final.”

See the world’s top canoe slalom athletes in action on the Olympic course in London at the Canoe Slalom World Championships.

Image courtesy of Planet Canoe via YouTube, with thanks.

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