Kirriemuir’s Sam Scrimgeour is targeting gold at the European Rowing Championships as he looks to keep his Rio hopes alive.
Scrimgeour is the reigning world champion but his lightweight men’s pair event is not in the Olympics and the 28-year-old was hoping to be selected in a different boat when Great Britain’s squad for the European Championships was announced earlier this week.
The competition in Brandenburg, Germany, which is held between May 6 and 8, sees GB Rowing select the teams they expect to name in the Rio Olympics squad in June.
But a loss of form or injury to one of the other rowers could leave the door for the plane to Brazil open for Scrimgeour and his partner Joel Cassell if they continue to impress.
Scrimgeour said: “I am really pleased to be competing at the European Championships. It is perhaps not the boat that I was hoping to be in but I was in the same boat in the World Championships last year with Joel and we did well, so hopefully we can do the same again and get another medal.
“You can never be overconfident of winning events because you do not know who you are going to be competing against or what form they are in until you get there.
“But we proved a point last year and hopefully we can do the same again. I think having won gold last year, there will be an expectation to win, or at least medal, at the European Championships.
“This is not the boat that I hoped to be in but the team for the Olympics has not been announced yet so Joel and I just need to crack on and go as fast as we can as a pair.
“As for 2016 as a whole, getting to Rio would be ideal but if that doesn’t happen then the goal would be to make whatever boat I am in go as fast as possible and pick up as many medals as we can.”
Scrimgeour only took up the sport when he went to Strathclyde University in 2005 but it wasn’t long until he was competing in the Scotland University Championships and BUCS events.
Over 60 per cent of Olympic gold medallists since 1992 have participated in BUCS sport, with 56 members of Team GB at London 2012 competing for Great Britain at the World University Games.
And the former Glasgow Rowing Club member said: “Rowing at university was a lot of fun and a great way to meet new people – a lot of people that I will know for the rest of my days.
“And the university format of rowing is the same as internationally – the side-by-side over 2km – and it is competitive and good fun. It sets you up for the next level up.
“I think the main thing that I learned from my university rowing was working as a team and the crewmanship.”
British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) is the national governing body for Higher Education (HE) sport in the UK, organising leagues and competitions for more than 150 institutions across 52 different sports. Supported by Deloitte, BUCS offers programmes to athletes from a grass roots level through to Commonwealth and Olympic Games hopefuls www.bucs.org.uk