Butcher one of three chasing qualification

Finn Butcher
Finn Butcher
Finn Butcher has a bigger picture in mind at this week's canoe slalom world championships.

The Alexandra kayaker lines up in the men's K1 in Spain, one of three New Zealanders chasing an Olympic qualification spot.

He is joined by Callum Gilbert and Jack Dangen in hunting the country a spot in Tokyo.

That competition is something he thinks is one of the team's biggest weapons.

''We have definitely stepped up this year and it's awesome to have that within the team - it gives us a good chance of getting a spot for Tokyo next year,'' Butcher (24) said.

''But canoe slalom is funny and past results count for nothing on the day so my focus this week is on the things that allow me to paddle the way I know I can, and hopefully the results follow.''

Gilbert has the best world cup result this year, a fifth in the first round in London.

But all three have made semifinals and Butcher has been close to his first top-10 final appearance.

To claim an Olympic spot one of the Kiwi paddlers needs to finish in the first 18 nations.

That does not guarantee that paddler will go to Tokyo - the world championships are only the first official selection event for individuals.

Should the trio miss qualifying this week there is also an additional Oceania spot available early next year.

Butcher, Gilbert and Dangen begin New Zealand's campaign this week by competing in the men's team race when individual competition starts today.

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