Three club members have taken the next step on their path to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Matt Bowley, Jon Boyton and Jess Walker won their races at the Great Britain trials in Nottingham last week.
The trio will travel Duisburg in Germany, where the final Olympic qualification event takes place next month. For Jon and Matt, it will be their last chance to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games.
Jess Walker is a seasoned Olympian now. She went to Beijing 2008 at the tender age of 18 and then finished 5th London 2012. It’s probably fair to assume that she is now eyeing up the prospect of a medal.
Jess’s place looks certain in the women’s K4 500m boat for Rio, and could also qualify for the K1 200m event too.
Following the race in Nottingham last week, she said: “I am particularly happy as I haven’t specifically trained for the K1 200m yet this season, I thought I would just do my 500m training and see how it goes. As well as the K4 I would like to double-up (in K1 200m) if possible, which will probably involve another race off later on.”
“I am really looking forward to getting back into the hard work and working on the back end of my K1 race and getting the K4 crew together for two to three sessions a week. We know that we are going well, but it is about putting it out there and showing that we deserve our place.”
Jon affirmed his place as the country’s top male endurance sprinter. He won the men’s K1 1000m to secure his place on the team for Duisberg, where he must finish first or second to qualify for Rio. He said: “I am very pleased. It is one step of the two-step process to qualify for the Games. It is always nice to get these things out of the way.”
“The conditions were quite difficult and it was a long race, about four minutes, which suited me. Obviously there was a lot of pressure going into this. I came into the race as the favourite and I was expected to deliver. I am now focused on qualification and trying to get everything perfect for that.”
Matt paired up with Elmbridge Canoe Club’s Ed Rutherford to win the men’s K2 (double kayak) 1000m race. A hard-fought race saw them win by the slimmest of margins – 0.03 seconds – and their place on the team for Duisburg was confirmed only after a photo finish.
Success in Duisberg would mean that the club further extends its impressive record of having members attend every summer Olympic Games since the sport was first included at 1936 Berlin.
The final Olympic qualification event takes place 18-19 May in Duisberg, Germany.