Canoe slalom athlete Callum Gilbert is in Tokyo and training harder than ever as he prepares for the biggest competition of his life.

The 25-year-old was one of the first New Zealand athletes to arrive in Japan where he’s been spending as much time as possible at the Kasai Canoe Slalom Centre, training and familiarising himself with the course ahead of competition.

“It’s been fantastic to get on the venue and I’m really enjoying the way it’s setup,” said Gilbert.

“There’s a lot of attributes which are really similar to our Auckland course at Wero. I’ve been based at Wero for a few years now so I feel like that’s a bit of an advantage for me.”

Gilbert arrived on July 8th and says the extra time on the course is already paying dividends.

“Arriving early has been extremely helpful as well, it’s really important for us to get to know the course and I’m feeling ready to go.

“I’m really happy to be here and I’m progressing really well so I feel like everything’s on track.”

After a lengthy delay in international competition he’s pleased to be back wearing the fern and representing New Zealand.

“It’s been great seeing the other paddlers and feeling that pre competition buzz again.

“I’m really looking forward to getting into the village and seeing the wider team as well. From there it’ll just be a few days of polishing things off before we get into competition.”

Callum competes in the K1 and is one half of the New Zealand Canoe Slalom team, alongside Rio 2016 silver medallist Luuka Jones.

The men’s K1 competition begins on July 28th.

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