A confident Joe Clarke is adamant a top-three finish is in his sights in the Canoe Slalom World Cup rankings this season.
The 22-year-old from Stafford and Stone Canoe Club star is currently eighth in the K1 standings with two of the five World Cup rounds remaining.
And the former Alleyne’s High School pupil is in great spirits heading into round four in Spain on August 8-9 and then Pau, France, the weekend after.
“I have been really happy with my season so far. I have made four finals and got a fourth-place finish in Krakow at the World Cup there so I’m moving up the rankings and I’m now 13th in the world.
“In the World Cup I am eighth at the moment and I’m really happy with that. There are a lot of competitive men in the K1 discipline and it is really difficult so to be eighth so far with two stages left to go and full of confidence going into them, the only way is up.
“My hopes for round four would probably be to make the final and try to push on for a medal but it is down to the day and fingers crossed it goes well for me.
“This year I would like to be in the top five in the standings. Last year I was fourth so it would be nice to better that and finish in the top three on the podium but we will have to wait to see what happens.”
Clarke, who started canoeing through Walton Priory Middle School, now lives in a house directly next to the Lee Valley White Water Centre in London, as he attempts to reach the top of his sport.
Canoe Slalom is an unforgiving sport where all the preparation can go out of the window if your decision making is just a fraction out.
Therefore, the line between success and failure can be millimetres – something Clarke is all too aware of.
“To stand on the podium more regularly this season I have been trying to work on my consistency,” Clarke added.
“You do that by working on, what we call, the world class basics day in and day out that all contribute to the end performance.
“It is so easy to have one fast run down but doing it day in and day out is more difficult.
“It is really important because in finals you have to be able to have that one great run because that is the one that counts.”
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