The British paddler arrives in Brazil in red-hot form after a World Cup campaign that saw her claim six podium places, finishing the season ranked second in the world.

"Going in as defending champion does not change anything, it doesn't bother me," said Franklin, who will also be defending her team world title this week.

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"It's one of those sports where everything has to be aligned but I know I've done all the hard work and my recent results have got to give me confidence.

"Where we train at Lee Valley is a very similar course to Rio and we've tried to make changes to it to mimic what we can expect in Brazil.

"I like this sort of course, I know I can fast and competitive but I know how tough it is going to be."

Franklin's hopes of making the Olympic team in Rio were derailed by a shoulder injury but changes to the programme for Tokyo, with her signature C1 class now part of the Games, give her reason for optimism.

However, New Zealand's Jessica Fox, the World Cup winner, and Austrian European champion Viktoria Wolffhardt will also be brimming with confidence.

And then there is British team-mates Kimberley Woods, who won C1 silver at the under-23 World Championships last month and 17-year old Bethan Forrow, who took up the sport after being inspired by the 2012 Games.

"At the Olympics, you only have one athlete for every nation but at the worlds, you pretty much have three from every nation," adds Franklin.

"It's much harder to win in many ways but the Olympics is where the real pressure is. We had a big gathering at home in 2016 and I remember watching all these great paddlers bottle it just because it was the Olympics - that really brought home what the pressure of the Games can do."

Franklin, 23, is the current frontrunner for making her Olympic debut in two years' time but knows there is no room for complacency.

Next year's World Cup at Lee Valley is the first of three selection races for Tokyo - and she acknowledges just being the best of British guarantees heading to the Games as a podium contender.

"I know I'm competitive but experience tells me so much can happen in a year - I could get injured or some of my team-mates could find amazing form," said Franklin.

"The strength in depth in our team is incredible, look at all the British paddlers that made the finals at the European Championships.

"The international standard in C1 is only getting higher and higher too, especially since it was included on the Tokyo programme, nothing is going to be easy."

Sportsbeat 2018

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