by Peter White

KATIE REID insisted the postponement of Tokyo 2020 played into her hands, after taking a significant step towards an Olympic debut with victory at the sprint and paracanoe national selection event in Nottingham on Saturday.

The 26-year-old, from Dunfermline, topped the ranks in the women’s C1 200 metres with a time of 49.74 seconds to secure her spot at May’s ICF European selection event in Szeged, Hungary, where a place at the Games will be on the line.

Having first picked up a paddle in 2014, Reid has made her mark on the water with 11th-place finishes in both the C1 200m and C2 500m events at the 2019 World Championships.

And with an extra 12 months to work on the finer details behind the scenes in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, she is confident she stands a better chance of securing a seat on the GB plane.

“I’m still relatively new to the sport so having that extra year was never going to be a bad thing,” she said. “I used last year to put in some really hard training and I’ve made some huge improvements.

“The time wasn’t too fast today but it was great to get out racing again, get the result, and to be able to look ahead to Hungary now.

“I’ll get my head down now with a few really hard weeks ahead before it’ll taper down a bit before European selection. There’s the world qualifying event in Russia after that if I need it but, hopefully, I can wrap things up in Hungary.

“It’s good to have that one in the bag after a long time away from racing. While it was a selection regatta, one of the main things today was blowing off some cobwebs and gaining some momentum to take into the summer.”

Despite being a seasoned international competitor, Reid admitted she did have a few nerves to contend with before her race at Holme Pierrepont – her first outing at an official regatta in 18 months.

But having come through that challenge unscathed, the former karate enthusiast believes she can take plenty of positives into what she hopes will be a memorable few months ahead.

She added: “Training’s been going really well and we’ve been really lucky to be able to access the lake and the gym, but until you put in a good performance on the water you’re not sure you’ve still got it.

“I was definitely nervous because it’s been such a long time away but you’ve just got to try and stay in the moment, trust yourself and go with it.

“Racing gives you that buzz that training can’t, and I’m really excited and motivated to really kick-on into the rest of the season now.”

British Canoeing is the national governing body for paddlesport in the UK.