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The calm waters at the Schinias rowing centre 40km north of Athens city centre have already been kind to Team GB, which won four rowing medals there last weekend, and more success could be heading their way over the next two days as the action moves to flat-water canoeing.

Built on a disused airport, Schinias sits in the foothills of the Parnitha range of mountains and it was here that Ian Wynne on Thursday made sure of a place in Saturday's nine-strong final of the K1 500m by winning his heat after initially faltering.

Wynne led at the 250m mark but ended up qualifying fourth fastest. “The final is going to be a very hard minute and a half,” he said. “Any one of the nine guys could come away with a medal. There are three or four favourites and hopefully I am in that crowd.”

It is a crowd. Canada's Adam van Koeverden and Nathan Baggaley of Australia are rated better bets than Wynne, although there was nothing to choose between the times of the three in their heats.

But Wynne has other business to attend to before he can turn his full attention to the K1 500m. On Friday morning he will take to the waters for the final of the K2 1,000m race alongside Paul Darby Dowman, the duo having won a direct path through to the final by finishing second in their heat on Monday.

Both men are looking to make up for the disappointments of Sydney where they failed to make their respective finals.

By the time Wynne and Dowman Darby take to the water they may have already been given a target to aim for as an hour earlier Tim Brabants, a bronze medallist in Sydney, goes in the men's K1 1,000m final.

Brabants, Britain's first ever medallist in sprint canoeing, won through to the final with the fastest time in the heats earlier this week and consequently has had the luxury of rest during the week while his rivals have been forced to endure gruelling semi-finals.

But Brabants knows he faces a tough fight for a medal as both van Koeverden and Baggaley are also in the event, while New Zealand's Ben Fouhy will also pose a threat.

A triumvirate of British boats racing in the finals is completed by Lucy Hardy who on Thursday narrowly won through to the final of the women's K1 500m.

Hardy initially looked to have missed out on the final when she was registered as coming fourth in her heat. But she was then bumped up to third, just edging out American Carrie Johnson. Still, with a time that was full six seconds behind that of Italian Josefa Idem in the semi-final, Hardy will not start among the favourites and represents only a distant medal hope.

Nonetheless, with two medals in the slalom kayaking already in the canoeing squad's bag Campbell Walsh's silver and Helen Reeves's bronze Athens is shaping up to be Team GB's best ever Olympics in these disciplines.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.
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