17 August 2019
Marsden determined to make statement in Szeged
Paralympic medallist Ian Marsden is confident he can re-establish himself among the globe’s best Para canoeists at next week’s World Championships in Szeged.
The 47-year-old – who transitioned to paracanoeing in 2012 after competing in handcycling and shooting – believes he is back to his best after surgery disrupted much of 2018.
Having claimed World Championship silver in 2013 and 2014, Marsden picked up a bronze medal in the KL1 classification at the European Championships in May, and is hoping to build on a positive season in Hungary from August 21-25.
“It’s gone a lot more smoothly this year so I’m really looking forward to getting out there,” said Stafford-born Marsden.
“We’ve been doing a lot of work and although there are still things to improve on, I seem to be having a much better season.
“I know the course well having been out there for a World Cup event last year which should stand me in good stead, too.
“I’m hopefully still improving as time goes on – it’s a sport that takes time to get used to, so I feel I’m in a good place having been doing paracanoeing for seven years now.”
While hunting for personal accolades at the World Championships, Marsden insists there is no doubt the priority is qualifying a quota place for next summer’s Paralympic Games by finishing in the top six in Hungary.
Competing as Britain’s sole representative in the men’s KL1 class, the former powerlifter explains he is focused on contributing to achieving Project9 - the goal to qualify boats in all nine paracanoe events at the Paralympics.
“This year is about boat qualification and then anything that comes after that is great,” he said.
There’s a bit more pressure because there’s only me out there to do that, but it’s part of the job and I’m sure it’ll go OK.
“As a team we all know we have a job to do out there in Szeged.
“We all work really well together and push each other to succeed, and hopefully I can offer my advice to the less-experienced athletes to help us achieve our ultimate aim.”
Marsden admits he has one eye on Tokyo having tasted success at the last edition of the Paralympic Games but acknowledges the competition in the class is fiercer than ever.
He said: “It was a big experience in Rio, and I can’t believe how quickly this cycle in the run up to next summer has gone – it’s flown by.
“Tokyo’s looking like it’s going to be huge and I’m really hoping to compete out there in what I’m sure will be a great race.
“It’s getting a lot bigger and faster now and the times have come down a lot, so I’m just going to give it my best and see how well I can do.”
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