Olympic silver medallist Richard Hounslow has called on the British public to come out in numbers once again for next week’s Canoe Slalom World Championships.
The Harrow paddler played a leading role during one of the most dramatic days at the London Olympics three years ago when he and partner David Florence were just beaten to C2 gold by team-mates Etienne Stott and Tim Baillie.
Lee Valley White Water Centre will once again be hosting the world’s elite for the World Championships between September 16 and 20 – the first time this county has hosted the competition in 20 years.
And with home advantage once again, Hounslow can’t wait to get going.
“I think whenever you compete at home, it always feels special,” he said.
“You have friends and family in the crowd and even people that you don’t know, they are British so they are cheering.
“At the Olympics it was a very partisan crowd and it was great for us.
“There was a huge amount of support so when we got gold and silver, everyone was loving it and hopefully we can have a repeat of that, get some medals and fingers crossed some golds.”
Hounslow will again be partnering Florence in the C2 and the pair believes they have as good a chance of glory as anyone else, especially with the event taking place at British Canoeing’s training base.
The 33-year-old, who will also be in the kayak for the K1 singles event, will be hopeful of a strong performance with the Championships offering competitors to secure quota places for Rio 2016.
It also provides the individual British athletes with the chance to impress ahead of their own Olympic selection process in October.
The former Harrow College pupil acknowledged home advantage could prove to be key but reiterated the unpredictable nature of canoe slalom where success and failure is defined by millimetres.
“In the C2 David and I feel we are capable of not only winning a medal but winning gold if we put it down on the day,” he added.
“In the kayak, my aim is to get into the final and then once you are there, who knows.
“There are so many people out there on the world level that have a very similar ability level that are capable of repeating the skills that are needed to win gold.
“But one of the key attributes in this sport is that on the day, can you cope with it mentally and can you get the level of excitement and motivation, meanwhile still keeping them under control and not get carried away in the moment and put it down aggressively controlled and technically well?
“There are so many components and bringing them all together is the key to winning on the world stage.”
See the world’s top canoe slalom athletes in action on the Olympic course in London at the Canoe Slalom World Championships. Tickets: www.ticketmaster.co.uk/london2015