WILTSHIRE paddler Hannah Brown says retaining her lottery funding from the British Canoeing World Class Programme into 2018 is the perfect end to a superb season.

Bradford on Avon’s Brown won a bronze medal at the ICF World Wildwater Championships back in October, having done likewise the ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships in the K2 200m alongside Angela Hannah a month earlier.

The 27-year-old saw her 2016 campaign curtailed early due to a dislocated shoulder, so the fact she can now fully focus on the fight towards earning a place at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics has made her recovery all the more satisfying.

“It is really good news. After the year I’ve had, making my way back from injuries and having a strong season, this is the cherry on top,” said Brown.

“It’s exciting and I am looking forward to the years leading up to Tokyo.

“It massively takes the pressure off and the support network that comes with it is ideal.

“I am confident I am on the right pathway to improve over the coming years.

“I had such a good year, it is the best one I have had, all in all. It was nice to be able to combine the two disciplines and do well in both.

“When I am able to do both, it helps me grow and I can feel my confidence go from strength to strength.

“I want to build step by build and I am not in a bad place to be building from.

“I am in a happy place going into this winter’s training period.”

The Tokyo Games may still be two-and-a-half years away but for Brown, the countdown clock is already ticking as she looks to cement a place in a crew over the next 12 months.

“Tokyo is definitely at the forefront of our minds,” said Brown.

“We have had quite a lot of change in terms of coaching and support staff and they have set out their new vision and how it builds up over the next few years.

“We have hit the ground running and there is a different emphasis that is all targeting Tokyo at the end of it. We feel it is quite close.

“At the moment we are going through the process of assembling crew boats. We are developing those skills and what you bring to the boat.

“The coaches are looking to cement decent crews next year and have minimal change after that.

“It is fundamentally quite a pivotal time but also an exciting time as well.”