Three-time Olympic champion Jason Kenny says he has put a ‘frustrating’ winter behind him and is determined to add to his world championship medal collection in Minsk.
The 24-year-old from Bolton triumphed in the sprint and team sprint in London last August to add to the gold and silver medals he collected in Beijing four years earlier.
The focus has now turned to adding to his solitary world championship title from 2011. After initially wining silver in the sprint contest, Kenny was promoted to gold following the relegation of Frenchman Gregory Bauge, who he later overcame in the London Velodrome.
“I am really motivated for the world championships and I have been since the Glasgow track world cup,” said Kenny, who was named as part of a 16-person Great Britain squad for the competition which runs from 20-24 February in Belarus.
“I did struggle for a couple of weeks trying to get a bit of momentum, those first couple of sessions of training.
“It was quite demoralising - going from the last time I rode at the Olympics on really good form and enjoying it to going back to square one a month later was really difficult but that’s what we do. I got over that and was really keen to work hard and put myself in the best possible place.”
After winning team sprint silver with Philip Hindes and Ed Clancy at the Glasgow track world cup, a collision in the keirin final at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome last November prevented Kenny contesting the individual sprint on the final day, hampering training plans as illnesses also caused disruptions for the British Cycling Olympic Podium Programme rider.
“It’s been a frustrating winter, it’s been quite rushed and I managed to fall off in Glasgow and hurt myself which has affected training a little bit,” admitted Kenny, who was talent-spotted whilst riding for his local Go-Ride Club.
“It’s impossible to ignore that Kian Emadi is going quicker than anyone at the minute and he has shown real speed.”
“I had a little illness, all things that wouldn’t matter in a normal year because you have got 12 months of focus for one event. That’s quite a lot of your planned training going out of the window, we’re on about plan Z at the minute. Unbelievably it still seems to be coming together.”
The Six Days of Rotterdam gave Kenny his first competitive outing of 2013 alongside compatriot Sir Chris Hoy. With Hoy taking a break from elite competition Kenny has become one of the more senior members of the sprint team despite being just 24, with both junior and senior world titles to his name in addition to Olympic success at two Games.
Having come through the Talent Team, Development and Academy Programmes from a young age, Kenny understands the importance of being able to tap into the experience available.
“It’s definitely helped me in the past and as far as advice and things like that go the coaches themselves have been to lots of Olympics so there’s no lack of experience in the team,” Kenny said.
“Everyone is so good at their own jobs that we just kind of get our head down and do it. Everyone knows everyone else, there’s a good atmosphere from the top to the bottom of the team, really encouraging and really competitive.”
Kian Emadi, one of two world championships debutants named in the Great Britain’s sprint team, could line-up with Kenny in the team sprint in the Minsk Arena. The 19-year-old British kilo champion, who would likely take the man three position if selected, has impressed Kenny in training.
“It’s impossible to ignore that Kian is going quicker than anyone at the minute and he has shown real speed,” Kenny said.
“He has obviously been working really hard while we have been at the Olympics, he’s been working away quietly and he’s getting the rewards for that now. It’s very possible he could be in the starting line-up.
“Then it depends on what Phil and I do in front of him! If we do get it together and do what we are capable of we could end up going fairly fast and being quite competitive and hopefully pushing for the win.”