Defending the World title

Claire O'Hara defends the Playboating World title

By Claire O'Hara

Defending the world title, athletes strive for victory on the global stage.

Time is disappearing as we quickly approach the start of the World Championships. I have now been based back at the NOC for 2 weeks and paddling almost everyday. The decision to come back again so early has worked really well. Everyday more and more athletes are arriving from across the world which means the line ups are getting bigger and the way in which we can train has had to change. Having spent four weeks now at the NOC at varying water levels I have already been able to get in some quality training and have had the time to work out the feature and really develop my moves. It is going to be difficult for the athletes arriving in future weeks who will be arriving to a very busy hole.

I am now in the position where I am able to work on putting together links and sequences and will soon be putting together my competition routine. This weekend my coach Den Newton (Sweetwater Coaching) will be arriving to help me future out the finer details and really help me tidy everything up. Having Den here is a critical part of my training and preparation and I can't wait until he arrives.

With so many paddlers already out here I have begun to really notice how high the standard is this year, across all disciplines. I have seen my competitors throw a whole array of great moves and impressive rides. Moves that used to be being thrown by only a few ladies are now being thrown by almost all the athletes and even the hardest of moves and combinations are now being worked on by several of the top athletes. This standard rise has not shocked me, as I knew it would be happening, but it has excited me that it has happened so soon and across a world wide depth of paddlers and not just with a handful or few. It is encouraging to see all my competitors and friends paddling so well and I am using this step forward to help motivate me to train harder and smarter. Its going to be important to be able to paddle even better than before in order to stay at the top of the game....

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