EASTBOURNE rower Joe Guppy admits he is hell-bent on following in the footsteps of London 2012 gold medallist Kat Copeland after being selected for this month’s Australian Youth Olympic Festival.
The 19-year-old is no stranger to pulling on the Great Britain vest, having made the final of the 2011 World Junior Championships in the double scull.
But Guppy is set for his biggest test to date after earning himself a plane ticket Down Under for the Australian Youth Olympic Festival, a competition where 1700 athletes from 30 different countries compete across 17 sports.
The Festival is held every four years and at the last competition Copeland stormed to gold and bronze medals before claiming women’s lightweight double sculls gold at London 2012 alongside Sophie Hosking.
And St Richard’s Catholic College pupil Guppy is hopeful of repeating the feat himself after earning a spot on the plane to Australia.
“I am definitely looking forward to getting out to Australia. I have been working towards this for a really long time,” he said.
“I got some good opportunities and managed to go to the Junior World Rowing Championships and I was in the double skull and made the A final.
“We then heard about this event and I knew I wanted to compete in it so I have been working hard towards this for about two and a bit years now.
“London 2012 was so inspiring and it made my mind up for me about wanting to go to the Olympics myself.
“This year is the year I want to push on and compete in Australia and hoping to make the GB U23s. All the junior world squad were given tickets to go and see some of the rowing at Eton Dorney and it definitely motivated me.
“Rio and beyond is definitely the goals from now on but this year will be good to kick-start it all. I’ve started well and need to make sure I carry on.”
The Australian Youth Olympic Festival will see approximately 1700 athletes from 30 countries compete across 17 sports, using some of the venues that featured at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
But despite the stiff competition Eastbourne Rowing Club’s Guppy isn’t going all the way to Australia just to make up the numbers.
“We are training at the moment in the pair, the coxless four and the eight, and I just want to get out there and race and win. It would be nice to get three golds out there and that is our aim,” he added.
“I feel you only really have achieved something if you come back with something to show for it. I don’t want to be selected to go out there to come back with fifth or sixth.”
The British Olympic Association prepares and leads British athletes at the summer, winter and youth Olympic Games. It works in partnership with sport National Governing Bodies to enhance Olympic success and is responsible for championing the Olympic values. www.olympics.org.uk