EXCLUSIVE - Kimberley Woods out for revenge with Paris 2024 qualification in her sights - The Rugby Observer

EXCLUSIVE - Kimberley Woods out for revenge with Paris 2024 qualification in her sights

Rugby Editorial 6th Jun, 2023   0

KIMBERLEY Woods admitted she will be out for revenge if she secures a place on the Team GB canoeing team at the Paris 2024 Olympics.

Woods placed 10th in the women’s K1 slalom final at Tokyo 2020 after a missed gate saw the Rugby-born canoeist receive a 50-second time penalty as her first Olympic experience ended in disappointment.

However, after securing her place on the GB squad for the 2023 season, Woods feels more confident than ever before as she attempts to overcome her Olympic pain in Paris next year.

Woods exclusively told the Observer: “We tried really hard to prepare ourselves for what it could be like [in Tokyo] but nothing could have prepared us for what it was actually like.

“I found it really difficult to find my groove, I was disappointed with my final race, I’d hate to put myself in that position again.

“I’ve trained really hard to stay in the game mentally as well as physically and just try to be open and honest when I am struggling with things.

“If Olympic selection goes well, I can always come back for a bit of revenge in Paris, I’m excited to fight for that spot.

“I have a lot of confidence in myself, the belief is there, I believe I can win more races, I’ve got a lot more of that now and I just feel really confident on the water.”

The 27-year-old has been part of the GB squad for more than decade and won silver at the World Championships in Augsburg, Germany in 2022.

However, before Woods thinks ahead to Paris, she must first secure qualification to what would be her second Olympic Games later this year.

Woods added: “This is the 11th year I’ve been on the senior team, I felt at my most ready for it than any other year, I’m really excited for the season.

“The confidence comes and goes from race to race, I probably struggled a bit last year but this season I’m out there to try and win every race.

“I have definitely come into my own now and I’m really excited to go after it this season and have another opportunity to race at a home World Championships.

“I was fortunate enough to race at the 2015 World Championships, to race in front of a home crowd was incredible and this is year is going to be huge.

“It’s an Olympic selection year as well, it’s a really exciting time.

“We’ve been trying so hard over the years to get the sport in the limelight, we’re really desperate for volunteers.”

Woods will have the chance to race in front of a home crowd at this year’s World Championships which take place at the Lee Valley White Water Centre in Hertfordshire in September.

She is part of a 12-strong British Canoe Slalom team for the 2023 season which concludes with the World Cup final at the Paris 2024 Olympic venue in October.

Woods competes in the canoe, kayak and kayak cross disciplines with the latter event a new addition to the Paris 2024 Games.

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