Coach backing Hoy and Walsh

SCOTTISH Olympic gold medal hopes Chris Hoy and Campbell Walsh are in peak condition for the Beijing Games, according to one of their coaches.

Dave Clark, head strength and conditioning coach for the Scottish Institute of Sport, has designed training programmes to keep cyclist Hoy and canoeist Walsh in the medal running following their success in Athens.

Clark encountered scepticism when he started his role in 2000, but he feels the attitude and success of Hoy and Walsh has "cleared the forest" for younger athletes to embrace the scientific approach.

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The South African is convinced Hoy's willingness to try new techniques in order to gain an advantage over his opponents can help him to another gold medal. Clark helped the 32-year-old go from silver medallist in 2000 to Olympic champion four years later.

"I first met him a month before the Sydney Olympics," Clark said. "I went down to Manchester to watch him train and I was blown away by his athleticism and commitment.

"We agreed that because it was so close to the Games, we would wait until we started working together. He and Craig MacLean came back with a medal and that was a huge inspiration to go back again to try to change the colour of that medal."

Clark is now also looking to turn Walsh from silver medallist to champion through his work with the British canoe slalom team. "His training is different because whole body has to be very powerful as he pushes through to his foot to get the canoe moving," Clark said.

"When I started, these guys were all fairly fragile and suffered slight niggles. Two weeks ago I saw Campbell in Nottingham and he is in cracking shape – more powerful than ever."