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British Canoeing launches Paddle to Tokyo to mark a year to go

British Canoeing has marked one year to go until the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games by launching its Paddle to Tokyo Campaign.

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The campaign will encompass a whole raft of activities and information regarding the Games, selected athletes and other exciting opportunities to get involved.

Today a new Olympic and Paralympic Games hub will be launched to support Paddle to Tokyo. It will feature profiles of selected athletes as well as information on selection events, useful links and latest news.

Additional information will follow throughout the year with details of how you can get involved.

Five paddlers have already been selected to Team GB and were officially announced in October 2019 and reconfirmed in April this year following the unprecedented decision to postpone both the Olympic and Paralympic Games due to COVID-19.

Liam Heath MBE will compete at his third Olympic Games having won sprint bronze in the K2 200m alongside Jon Schofield in London and silver in Rio before being crowned Olympic Champion in the K1 200m three years ago.

The four canoe slalom athletes selected - Mallory Franklin, Kimberley Woods, Adam Burgess, and Bradley Forbes-Cryans, will all make their Olympic debuts in Japan.

Mallory Franklin, who will be competing in the C1 Canoe Slalom event, said: “The Games being postponed for a year is just adding to the anticipation for everyone and with people across the world having struggled through COVID-19, it will be a celebration as athletes and cultures coming together.

“Training and staying motivated during lockdown was really hard but knowing I was selected gave me the motivation to keep pushing on. Knowing there was something to aim for got me through those days when I wasn’t allowed on the water and wanted to just go padding.

“It’s really exciting being one year out from the Games as last year we were in the middle of our Olympic selection so to know that I’m going its really exciting. I can’t wait to get back out to Tokyo to experience the culture and get on the course again.”

Her Canoe Slalom team mate, Adam Burgess added: “It’s one year to go and I am still really looking forward to it and it is fair to say I think about it every day.

“Hopefully over this next year I am going to be as good as I can be. Hopefully it is just going to be a massive Games and good for the world to have one big celebration of sport for everybody at the other side of this.

Profiles of all the selected athletes can now be found on the Paddle to Tokyo hub.

Paul Ratcliffe, Performance Director for British Canoeing, said;

“All of our athletes have shown incredible strength of character through lockdown and we are proud of the way they have dealt with the postponement of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Whilst there is still uncertainty in the world, the Games are providing a beacon of hope for us all to reunite once again to celebrate some fantastic sport.

– Paul Ratcliffe, Performance Director at British Canoeing

“Our priority has always been the health and wellbeing of our athletes and we will continue to prepare for the Games as safely as we can.

“We are incredibly grateful to the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, The IOC, IPC and our partners Team GB and ParalympicsGB as they continue to work tirelessly to help us be the best prepared Nation.”