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Dawson will race in the International Canoe Federation slalom racing world cup event in Prague in the Czech Republic on Friday and in Tacen, Slovenia, on June 27.
The fourth-year dental student at the University of Otago qualified for the Beijing Olympics in the single-seat canoe (C1) at the Oceania championships in Sydney earlier this year, but still has to satisfy the New Zealand Olympic Committee he will be competitive in China in August.
With each country allowed to field only one competitor in the event at the Olympics, Dawson, who finished 2007 ranked 63rd in the C1, needs to finish in the top 16 nations to secure an Olympic spot.
"Training has been going well and I am feeling fresh and ready to race my best in Prague and secure the spot there," he said in an email.
"I travelled to Europe in early June and have spent time training at Liptovsky and Bratislava in Slovakia, Prague, Veltrusy, Roudnice in the Czech Republic, and Augsburg in Germany.
"So I feel I have done a lot of training and really know my boat and how it feels on the water, and how to make it go fast."