Bradley Forbes-Cryans believes the last time he paddled at his very best was way back in 2019. Maybe even 2018.

But the Tokyo Olympic debutant is confident he’s now on his way back to that form. Last weekend in Prague he felt strong on the water in the men’s K1 semi-final, before a careless late gate touch cost him a place in the final.

And then on Friday in Krakow he put down the third fastest time in K1 qualifying to set himself up nicely for Saturday’s semi-finals. It’s a relief to finally be feeling strong again, he said.

“During the run, straight off the bat I was happy to build on my run in Prague,” Forbes-Cryans said.

“I’m just looking now to hold that pace in my run all season, because I didn’t in selection feel like I had the same pace as my teammates, Joe (Clarke) and Chris (Bowers). Now it’s nice and a little bit of a confidence booster for me to know that I am still able to mix it with the international guys.”

A lack of racing during the Covid pandemic really put the 27-year-old Scot off track, and he concedes he’s struggled to get going again – even though he had the Olympics to work towards, and then ending up making the final in Tokyo.

Post-Games Forbes-Cryans believes he lost a bit of his attacking spark.

“I think at the start of the season I probably wasn’t taking on the gates as much as I needed to, maybe paddling a little bit conservatively,” he said.

“But paddling in Prague you need to be aggressive, so I think that gave me a nice feeler of where I need to be.

“I think my strongest season, even though I was in the Olympic Games final last year, was during 2018/19. I only feel like I’m getting back to that pace now. I must have had about five races now since the pandemic, and it’s only now that I feel like I’m starting to get back to where I was.”

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