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Newbury's Matt Rossiter hopes to kick on after European gold at rowing championships in Italy

NEWBURY’S Matt Rossiter believes his Great Britain men’s four team have made a statement of intent by winning a second European Championship gold medal in three years.

Rossiter, 31, along with Sholto Carnegie, Oliver Cook and Rory Gibbs successfully achieved first place at the championships, which took place in Varese, Italy, last weekend.

The men's four team won gold in Italy | Picture: British Rowing
The men's four team won gold in Italy | Picture: British Rowing

The crew dominated proceedings from start to finish by winning their heat, semi-final and final, beating Romania and Italy – who finished second and third respectively.

“It really was [a statement],” said Rossiter. “I've never been in a crew that has dominated a regatta as much as we did last weekend.

“We won our heat, semi and final, and it's a marker in the sand and something we want to try and repeat in the future.

“We wanted to go to Italy and win, there's no hiding away from that.

“However, the most important thing was to get some racing back into our legs and come away with some things to improve on.

“It's always nice to win but we've also learnt more about ourselves and the opposition.”

Despite claiming gold in Italy, the relentless training schedule doesn’t stop for the team as they aim to confirm their place in the squad for the Olympics this summer.

“Now isn't the time to sit back and celebrate,” admitted Rossiter. “We are now full steam ahead to getting our boat going as fast as we can.

“We train 13 days on, one day off, three times a day and we're going to keep pushing until we've squeezed every last drop of potential out of ourselves and the boat.”

The Leander club member knows how significant a winning performance in Italy was for their chances of representing Great Britain on the grandest stage of them all in Tokyo.

“Hopefully this will show the selectors that we are indeed the right four guys to go to Tokyo and aside from that, I think the weekend really show us that we are going well.

“It's hard training behind closed doors and against the clock not against actual opposition as you constantly think you aren't going fast enough.

“Of course we need to go faster and faster as other crews will improve and some non-Europeans will come in, but we now have a starting point and have launch from there.”

With it being a difficult year, with no competitions allowed to take place due to the coronavirus outbreak, Rossiter was relieved to get back to racing.

“It was great to get back racing for sure, but I really think that we've been the lucky one through the covid-19 nightmare.

“We've been allowed to continue training and follow our dreams, while others have really had to knuckle down, suffer and hang in there.

“I'm very mindful that we are the lucky ones and just feel so grateful that I have something to be joyful about in a time when there hasn't been much of that around.”

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