EMILY Richards is hoping for a Brazil-liant finish to next year’s rowing season as she targets a medal at the world junior rowing championships on Rio’s 2016 Olympic course.
The Monmouth Comprehensive School pupil is well on course to gain a seat on the plane after landing GB gold at the recent European junior team championships in France.
And this weekend, she’ll be taking on her GB Olympic heroes at the senior national championships in Nottingham, which could include London 2012 gold medallist Katherine Grainger, who has just returned to training ahead of the Rio Games.
“I'm just reading her autobiography, which is really inspiring. I’d love to make it all the way to the Olympics in Japan 2020,” said Emily.
Also set to line-up in Nottingham, where the 17-year-old goes in a Welsh squad quadruple scull, will be Olympic and world champions Helen Glover and Heather Stanning, who are coached by Old Monmothian and Monmouth RC mnember Robin Williams, plus 2012 Olympic gold medallist Kat Copeland.
“It'll be great to go against them, and in the Fours Head over the reverse Boat Race course in London next month. They are the benchmark who have really raised the bar. What they've done is fantastic,” added Emily.
And she starts a busy period in her bid to win a seat at next year’s world juniors on the stunning Rio lake beneath the statue of Christ the Redeemer next July fresh from golden success in Bordeaux, where she helped the GB junior women’s quadruple scull take glorious gold.
“After training at GB’s rowing centre at Caversham, we won our heat and had the fastest time going into the final, so we knew we had a chance of a medal,” she said.
“We blasted out and got an early lead which was out to just over a length with 500m to race. The Poles pushed at the finish but we held them by 3/4L. I was exhausted, but crossing the line to win gold felt great.”