Joel Cassells is determined to keep fighting for an Olympic berth for this summer’s Rio games until the very last minute.
The local rower suffered a bit of a blow last week when he missed out on selection for the Men’s Lightweight Four.
Instead he has to be content with a place in the non-Olympic lightweight pair with Sam Scrimgeour for the European Championships in Germany next month.
As always though the 21-year-old is focused on the job in hand and is determined to retain the title he won with Peter Chambers in Poznan last year.
“I was proud to be announced as the lightweights men’s pair with the pairs expert that is Sam Scrimgeour,” Joel told Times Sport.
“It’s a great personal notion that the winter slog of training is finally coming to an end and the summer racing season begins. It’s hard to believe that it was around this time last year I was selected in the same event.
“I won the event alongside Peter, so to have another crack at it is a great feeling.
“I was blessed with an amazing season last year winning the World Championships with Sam was great, but now it means a target is now painted on our backs.
“We’re the pair to beat, but we relish the challenge that it brings. We’ll be aiming for the win. “
Joel was edged out of a Pairs win at the GB trials in March by Scrimgeour and Jono Clegg, and he admitted the event didn’t go how he’d planned.
“Personally I was disappointed with my trials performance,” he said.
“We had a specific race plan and perhaps it just wasn’t the right one on the day. Still coming second in the Olympic trials is a good achievement, and I still think there’s more to come yet as the season progresses.
“The last few months have been very tough training. For me it’s always a challenge, as my fellow squad mates have at least four years of experience behind them.
“But I never use it as an excuse, I keep my head down and keep pushing to get the most out of myself.
“My job now is the make the pair as fast as possible, and we’ll see what materialises.
“There’s still a long way to go and anything can happen between now and then.
“There will be plenty of ups and downs along the way and I will just be working hard and doing my best to see what I can do.
“The excitement for Rio is always building now, and with that nerves with it.
“I have my job to do now for Europeans, and I’ll take each rowing Championship and World Cup as they come.
“If last year’s season is anything to go by, it’ll be an exciting one with a few twists that’s for sure.”