Canoe/Kayak Slalom - Olympic champion Stott relishing challenges of competing again

Etienne Stott admits competing again as an Olympic champion will take some getting used to but insists he and Tim Baillie will be prepared for whatever challenges come their way.

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Canoe/Kayak Slalom - Baillie: Stott will return stronger
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Tim Baillie and Etienne Stott

Stott and Baillie won Britain's first ever canoe slalom gold at an Olympics at London 2012 last summer, claiming the C2 title with teammates David Florence and Richard Hounslow taking silver.

Their Olympic gold medal-winning efforts see them pre-selected for the British team for 2013 however they will still be in attendance at the selection races which take place next month.

The first international event on the calendar is the European Championships in June, Baillie and Stott, Florence and Hounslow and Adam Burgess and Greg Pitt combining to win team gold last year.

And Stott, who along with Baillie is back now training at Holme Pierrepont in Nottingham after a spell at the Olympic venue in Lee Valley, is relishing what lies ahead this year.

"It will be an adventure for us and it will be different, that's for sure. People will want to beat us as the Olympic champions so it will be an intriguing challenge," said Stott.

"We want to prepare properly but there are improvements we want to make and it is about concentrating on ourselves, not others.

"Things will always be changing around us but we have to have the mind-set to look at ourselves and the plans we want to execute and enjoy being on the competitive scene again.

"As we approach the season, we do not know what to expect but does anyone ever know? We have obviously done less training than (other) times.

"But we have worked hard nonetheless and we still have quite a few weeks before our first real test, the European Championships in Krakow.

"Before then, we will race at all the selection races, more as race practice and a marker for our training status going forward. But we can't wait. It's going to be a fantastic year."

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