British Canoeing have reconfirmed the places of five athletes for Tokyo 2020 ©Getty Images

The British Olympic Association (BOA) and British Canoeing have confirmed the five athletes already nominated for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics remain selected for the rescheduled Games in 2021.

Liam Heath was named as the first canoe sprint athlete in the team last year, with the reigning Olympic K1 200 metres champion poised to make his third appearance at the Games.

Adam Burgess, Bradley Forbes-Cryans, Mallory Franklin and Kimberley Woods were named as the four canoe slalom athletes last October.

Franklin and Woods will contest the women's C1 and K1 events respectively, while Burgess is due to be Britain's representative in the men's C1 event.

Forbes-Cryans secured the K1 berth after a close selection progress against reigning Olympic champion Joe Clarke.

The canoeists' best two results from the British trials, an International Canoe Federation World Cup in June and the World Championships in September were used to determine the place.

Clarke won the first two races but placed fifth at the World Championships, with Forbes-Cryans finishing one place higher in fourth.

Forbes-Cryans secured the K1 selection due to scoring the highest number of points in the final race, with the two athletes finishing level.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has guaranteed that athletes and National Olympic Committees (NOCs) who have secured quota places at the Games will keep their spots at the rescheduled Olympics.

However, IOC sport director Kit McConnell confirmed last week that in sports such as canoeing, rowing and sailing, the boat is qualified for the Games rather than an individual athlete.

A final decision on which athlete takes the quota place would rest with NOCs.

Clarke had expressed hope the process could be reopened.

He claimed it would be "ridiculous" to use the existing process due to the gap between the start of the selection races and the rescheduled Olympics.

The BOA and British Canoeing have confirmed the existing team will remain unchanged.

"I am pleased that British Canoeing has decided to reconfirm the nomination to the BOA of the five athletes previously selected to represent Team GB at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games," said David Joy, British Canoeing's chief executive.

"We are currently in unprecedented times and the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Games has caused uncertainty and anxiety not only for those athletes selected but also for those who agonisingly missed selection in 2019.

"This decision is in line with our policies and values.

"The athletes were selected for the Olympic Games in Tokyo, through a transparent and results driven process and it is right that their selections should remain.

"Nothing has changed other than the date of the Games.

"In slalom, we have selected our team early in the last two cycles, to give the athletes the maximum amount of time on the Olympic competition water.

"The team now have the certainty to plan their preparations for the Games in 2021."

Bradley Forbes-Cryans remains Britain's representative in the men's K1 canoe slalom  ©Getty Images
Bradley Forbes-Cryans remains Britain's representative in the men's K1 canoe slalom ©Getty Images

British Canoeing said their decision followed a joint meeting between their international panels for canoe sprint and canoe slalom, who unanimously agreed that the selections previously agreed should stand.

The recommendation was approved by the Board of British Canoeing yesterday.

Britain have already secured the maximum number of canoe slalom berths for the Games, but canoe sprint athletes will have further opportunities to qualify additional Olympic quota places in 2021.

Mark England, Britain's Chef de Mission for Tokyo 2020, thanked British Canoeing for conducting their review and confirming the places.

He added that the BOA are working with British Sailing on their Tokyo 2020 nominations.

"We're delighted for the athletes that they can once again start to dream about Tokyo after what has, and continues to be, a difficult and unsettling time," he said. 

"Whilst the delay is by no means ideal, the confirmation of their place at the Games will give the athletes some important time on the water once there is a resumption in training activities.

"We thank British Canoeing for their hard work in reviewing and confirming their selections.

"There is no doubt that when we finally arrive in Tokyo – a city we have all grown immensely fond of – the moment will be all the more special for this exciting and talented team.

"The BOA are working with British Sailing regarding their Tokyo 2020 athlete nominations, and details will be released in due course."