Glasgow 2018 is a great incentive for GB rowing stars, says European Champion Sam Scrimgeour
British rowing star Sam Scrimgeour believes that staging the European Rowing Championships at Strathclyde Country Park as part of Glasgow 2018 will boost interest in the sport across Scotland.
The 29-year old – who hails from Kirriemuir in Angus - is aiming to seal a second-successive European gold medal when he competes at the 2017 European Rowing Championships in the Czech Republic this weekend.
Live coverage of the final day on Sunday is available via the BBC Red Button.
Sam and rowing partner Joel Cassells were crowned European Champions in the lightweight men’s pairs at last year’s event in Germany and with next year’s European Rowing Championships taking place at Strathclyde Country Park as part of the Glasgow 2018 European Championships, Sam is keen to put down a marker amongst a highly competitive field.
The Scot said: “Preparations for this week's Championships are going really well. Joel and I have been in this boat since the 2015 World Championships, which we won, and we raced it at last year’s European Championships too. So we’re feeling really good.
“Our strongest competition for the lightweight men’s pair comes from Europe – so I’d say it was equally as good as our World Championship win.
“There's always a huge sense of pride in representing Great Britain and with the pride and the history behind it, there also comes a little bit of pressure and expectation.
“But I guess that's needed to perform at that level - you need that extra bit of drive sometimes.”
It has been an exciting journey for the athlete, who first got into rowing whilst studying aero-mechanical engineering at Strathclyde University in 2005.
Sam was also a member of the Glasgow Rowing Club on the banks of the River Clyde, which has also seen the likes of Olympic silver medallist Polly Swann and World Bronze Medallist Lindsay Dick pass through its doors.
He credits that club, and its volunteer coaches, as a major factor in his success.
Sam said: “I joined Glasgow Rowing Club to test myself against the best and it allowed me to push on and challenge myself. I had help from some very good voluntary coaches who had both represented Great Britain themselves.
“Their knowledge was invaluable in helping me becoming the rower I am today.”
Now living in London where he competes with the famous Molesey Boat Club, Sam already has one eye on next year’s European Rowing Championships – which will take place on Strathclyde Loch as part of the Glasgow 2018 European Championship.
Rowing is one of seven sports taking place as part of the new event, with another five sports – Aquatics, Cycling, Golf, Gymnastics and Triathlon – being staged in Scotland over 11 days between 2 – 12 August 2018. The European Athletics Championships will also form part of the event and will be held in Berlin.
For Sam it represents another chance to pull on the GB uniform and believes the event can provide a welcome boost to the sport’s popularity in Scotland.
He said: “I think it’ll be a fantastic feeling for GB rowers competing at a home event at Glasgow 2018. Strathclyde Loch is a venue that I competed at a lot in my early years of rowing I would savour the opportunity to go and compete there again.
“Rowing is a sport that, I feel, could do with a bit more exposure in Scotland and it’s great that the country is getting the opportunity to hold such a significant event in the rowing calendar.
“I think the multi-sport format will be exciting for a lot of the rowers too because the only other opportunity for that is at the Olympic Games.
“It’s a fantastic incentive to go to the first-ever Glasgow 2018 European Championships and compete for Team GB as part of that wider sporting team.”
Tickets for the Glasgow 2018 European Championships go on general sale on June 14 and fans can also sign up for priority ticket access. The European Rowing Championships will take place between 2 – 5 August 2018 at Strathclyde Country Park in North Lanarkshire.
Image credit: Naomi Baker