Bell Books Ticket to Beijing

Canoeing | Published: Sat 22 March 2008

WAIS/AIS paddler Robin Bell became the first slalom paddler to secure a ticket to Beijing when he took out the Men's C1 Olympic Selection Race in Penrith on Good Friday.

Robin BellThe 30-year old followed up his efforts in last week's Oceania Championships, where he finished as the best of the Australians, by finishing seven seconds clear of fellow WAIS/AIS paddler Kynan Mayley at the Penrith Whitewater Stadium. Bell clocked a total time of 209.58 seconds for his two runs.

A World Champion in the C1 event in 2005 and the current World Championship bronze medal holder expressed his relief at locking away a trip to his third Olympic Games.

``It's a big relief when you put your life on hold and train for something for years to have it finally happen,'' Bell said after qualifying for Beijing.

"Kynan's a top class paddler and you can never rule him out so I'm really pleased with that win."

Bell, who is based in Sydney, has set his sights on repeating his 2005 World Championship effort on the Olympic stage in what shapes as his final appearance at that level.

``It's definitely a possibility,'' he said of his golden dream.

``A hundred things need to go right but I'm on track. It's what I'm aiming for. The plan from here is to spend time working toward some intense competition on the international circuit and some quality training time on the Olympic course in the lead up to the Games."

Mayley turned the tables on his teammate in the final race on Saturday, finishing second behind Croatian Emir Mujcinovic with a time of 208.44 seconds while Bell completed his weekend with a fifth place in a time of 211.33 seconds.