Pontypridd paddler Megan Hamer-Evans believes the disappointment of being left out of British Canoeing's Under-23 team fuelled her journey to the senior squad.
Hamer-Evans is part of the 10-strong British slalom team for the 2022 season, following Easter weekend's tightly contested selection event.
The K1 star is now set to make her international debut after qualifying for a first senior team and believes last year's disappointment was a driving force behind her current success.
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Hamer-Evans said: "The disappointment drove me on 100%, it was motivation to get up and train, do those extra runs and just work harder.
"It did make a massive difference.
"Selection meant a lot to me because last year was disappointing, what with not making the Under-23.
"So I was home a lot last summer while everyone was out abroad racing, it was quite a difficult year, so I was really set on coming back.
"Especially with the extra senior space available, I was really focussed on getting that, so it was a lot of pressure on the weekend, but I am glad I have come out the other side of it."
Hamer-Evans trains at Lee Valley White Water Centre, a world-leading venue in the sport and home of canoe slalom during London 2012.
The venue will host the ICF World Championships in 2023, with 2022 also marking the 10th anniversary of its opening ahead of London 2012.
The Welsh star and the 10-strong British team are embarking on a first international racing season of the Paris 2024 Olympic cycle.
Hamer-Evans said that the support of her coaches, friends and family got her over the disappointment of missing out in 2021 ahead of her return to training.
"I just kind of shut myself away for a couple of days when I found out, it was just really disappointing," she said. "I felt like my life fell apart a bit because obvious canoeing is my life, so not to make the age category teams was a hard hit.
"But the support of my coach, friends, and family has been amazing, and it has really helped.
"They really just helped me refocus and stay grounded at a time where everything felt in the air.
"It's crazy to be going away with some of the athletes here and to be doing team runs with them.
"I'm just super excited to experience getting on the start lines and being with an amazing bunch of people.
"I can't wait for the season to start. I just want to put myself out there and see what happens."
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