BETH Latham put her psychological toughness to the test at the weekend.
The 21-year-old from Cononley had finished a disappointing 35th in the K1 women’s individual in the International Canoe Federation World Cup event at Lee Valley on Friday.
However, the Bradford & Bingley Canoe Club member rebounded at the 2012 London Olympic venue to win the women’s K1 team final on Sunday alongside Mallory Franklin and Fiona Pennie.
It was a belated reward for Beth, who missed half of last season and part of her winter training with a shoulder injury. She confessed: “I dislocated my shoulder before it went back in last year, and it made all the hard work training over the winter seem worthwhile after such a disappointing end to 2013.
“We had been working on technical things to shave split seconds or even seconds off our times, while we have also been working on mental toughness, such as the ability to bounce back after disappointments.
“You know in canoeing that you are going to have ups and downs, but we are prepared for that, as we are for the pressure of competing in front of large crowds - and there were hundreds of people cheering us on at Lee Valley.”
Latham’s renaissance started the week before at the European Championships in Vienna, where she came seventh in the K1, having been 24th in the same event in Krakow, Poland last year.
“The canoeing season runs from March until September. That (Vienna) was my best result, and it was really great to come back with a placing like that after all the disappointments, and it gave me confidence going into the World Cup.”
Last weekend didn’t start well for Beth, who explained: “The water is so powerful at Lee Valley, which is my favourite course, that any mistake can easily lead to lost time or other mistakes.
“I can’t remember how many times I have been down that course - I seem to live on the M1 at times - but doing badly in the individual didn’t affect my confidence for the team event, which was held on a beautiful day.”
A total of 4,000 spectators attended over the three days, where Great Britain topped the medal table with seven golds and a silver, which bodes well for next year’s World Championships at the same Hertfordshire venue.
Beth should be even more familiar with Lee Valley by September 2015 as she moved in there full-time yesterday.
“I was packing my bags when you rang,” said Beth. “I hope to be there for the long term - for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and beyond.
“It is fantastic to be able to train regularly at such a great facility.”
On the nearer horizon for Beth is round three of the World Cup in Prague on June 20-22 before a training block in America precedes the World Championships at Deep Creek Lake, Maryland on September 17-21.