Brabants aims to build on Worlds silver
British Olympic champion Tim Brabants was beaten to gold by Germany's Max Hoff in the men's K1 1,000m event at the Sprint Canoe World Championships.
Brabants, who took 18 months out of the sport to work as a doctor after winning gold at Beijing 2008, led for most of the race but faded at the end.
"I am pleased with that. I had the race for a while but Max is always going to be tough to beat," said Brabants, 33.
GB's Rachel Cawthorn finished fourth in the women's K1 1,000m final in Poland.
The 21-year-old European champion over 1,000m - which is an Olympic distance for men, but not women - was edged out for bronze by Sweden's Sofia Paldanius, while Franziska Weber of Germany won gold.
"Rachel fought really hard to be in there and did us a proud against a really tough field," said Brendan Purcell, head coach of the British team.
I think next year I will be back up there
"Tim's performance was awe-inspiring. He went out and told everyone to chase him. It is amazing and has really lifted and inspired the team."
However, Brabants will be disappointed not to have held on for gold after racing ahead of the field in trademark fashion.
He eventually came home in a time of three minutes 30.040 seconds, half a second behind Hoff (3:29.544) and only just ahead of Aleh Yurenia of Belarus, who took bronze in 3:30.128.
"Max has been so consistent," explained Brabants, who returned to canoeing in February. "But I think next year I will be back up there.
"When I started to tire in the last 200m, I just thought about all the really tough sessions my coach Eric Farrell has had me doing."
Farrell, watching from the sidelines, added: "It is a phenomenal result with only a standing start from February.
"He was desperate to be back on the rostrum and it's just going to inspire him more on the road to London 2012."
Brabants was later fifth in the K1 5000m, finishing 13.144 seconds behind winner Ken Wallace of Australia in 20:14.482.
Lani Belcher was seventh in the corresponding women's event, which was won by Hungary's Vivien Follath.
Britain's other finalists on Saturday, Jenna Hawkey and Angela Hannah, finished seventh in the women's K2 1,000m.
Sunday sees Brabants and Cawthorn return for the K1 500m finals, while fellow Briton Ed McKeever will challenge for gold in the K1 200m event if he makes it through Saturday's heats and semi-finals as expected.
The International Canoe Federation, the sport's world governing body, has changed the races which form the Olympic sprint canoeing programme in the wake of Beijing 2008.
The men's K1 500m race, in which Brabants won Olympic bronze two years ago, will not form part of the London 2012 programme, with races over 200m being introduced in its place.
But the K1 500m will be an Olympic discipline for women and is where Cawthorn's focus lies, since no K1 1,000m race will be staged for women in London.