Walsh intends to come good when it really matters
KAYAKER Campbell Walsh is right when he says the past two years haven't been his greatest - but he is adamant he will come good when it matters most at the Olympic trials in April.
BIG IDEAS: Despite growing pressure from his fellow Brits, Campbell Walsh vows to ensure he makes it a hat-trick of Games appearances at London 2012
Having failed to build on his Olympic K1 kayak slalom silver medal from Athens 2004 at the Beijing Games in 2008, Walsh appeared to be back to his best in the year that followed.
World Cup gold in Bratislava was sandwiched in between European and World Championship team gold and silver respectively - however Walsh's international results have dwindled since.
The 33-year-old individually finished 11th at the Europeans and 21st at the worlds in 2010, while this summer he could only muster 19th and 29th at the two.
Somewhat worryingly Walsh finished behind both his British teammates in the K1, Richard Hounslow and Huw Swetnam, at this year's showpiece events with the former ranking fifth at the Europeans.
Only one can represent Britain at the Olympics next year and, despite form suggesting otherwise, Walsh, having succeeded twice before, believes he will come out on top for a third time.
"I haven't had a great season, I haven't had a great two seasons but I have still had a certain amount of consistency and I feel I am the top boat in the country," said Walsh, speaking at the Edinburgh launch of the British Olympic Association's brand-new partnership with P&G UK.
"And the goal is very much to get that spot to go the Games. It will be fantastic to do so and I am putting plans in place and will be putting the work in over the winter to get it.
"Realistically there are only two, three, four at a stretch, real contenders in my class, anyone other than that it would be a huge, huge shock if they were to get that one place.
"Richard and Huw are older and experienced as well, they aren't as old as me, but they have been through Olympic selection races before so it isn't new to them.
"Richard ran me pretty close in 2008, he was in really good form that year, and Huw is always there or thereabouts so it is going to be tough.
"But this is it now - you look at it year on year planning to peak at the World Championships and now it is the Olympics. That is the major goal and first comes selection."
Despite the one boat per nation per event ruling for the Olympics seeming harsh on Walsh and his fellow Brits he believes it in turn improves their chances of success in London.
And that is a statement backed up by fact with three French and German paddlers and two Slovenian and Czech Republicans ahead of Walsh, who is the highest Brit in 15th, in the world rankings.
"Our boats aren't consistently the best in the world but the interesting thing about our sport is that only one person can compete per nation per event at the Games," he added.
"Usually at major competitions you can have three per nation but you can't at the Olympics and so that will discount for a lot of the top ten in the world.
"That should increase British chances of success as France, Germany and Slovenia often have two boats on the podium, so it gives whoever goes the opportunity to step up."
Campbell Walsh was speaking at the Edinburgh leg of the ‘nearest & dearest' roadshow in partnership with P&G - supporting family and friends of all Team GB and ParalympicsGB athletes in the lead up to London 2012. Visit www.pgproudsponsorofmums.co.uk for more information.
(c) Sportsbeat 2011