BURY St Edmunds’ swimmer Chris Walker-Hebborn believes there is no reason why he cannot challenge for Olympic glory, as he aims to make a splash at London 2012.
The 21-year-old will be flying the flag for Great Briatin in the pool in the 200 and 100 metre backstroke events, with the latter beginning on Sunday with the heats (11.13am) and semi-finals (8.25pm) taking place, before the 200m heats commence on Wednesday (10.20am).
The Team Ipswich swimmer, who is based at British Swimming’s intensive training centre in Bath, is confident of progressing into Monday’s 100m backstroke final (7.56pm) and although conceding to not being a favourite to claim a medal, he remains hopeful of causing a shock and claiming glory.
“In my head I know what I want to do and realistically I think I am capable of making the final,” he said.
“To a degree the pressure is off me a bit and I am aiming to go and enjoy the experience.
“Qualification was the hardest thing but now I am here I’m not nervous and haven’t got any tension because I have nothing to lose.
“I don’t think I’m one of the favourites for winning a medal because there are some very quick lads. But who says I can’t challenge.
“I don’t want to put any added pressure on myself but if I can get into a final then you never know.”
As well as dealing with the pressure of competing in the world’s greatest sporting spectacle, Great Britain’s athletes will also have to handle the expectations of a capacity home crowd who will converge on the Olympic Park and fill the arenas.
However, looking ahead to stepping out at the Aquatics Centre, Walker-Hebborn, who first came to prominence in the 2008 European Junior Championships in Belgrade, where he took four gold medals, conceded he is not sure of what to expect but believes home advantage will spur him on.
“Everyone has to deal with the pressures of competing in a home Games, not get overwhelmed and give the best performance we are capable of,” he added.
“I’m actually feeling quite relaxed at the moment. Training has gone really well, I’m feeling really good and I’m fully prepared.
“I don’t know what to expect to be honest but I know it is going to be something special when I step out into the Aquatics Centre.
“I’m going to have the home crowd behind me and I am going to be using that to the maximum and hopefully that will spur me on to a medal.”
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