By Steven Oldham, Sports Correspondent
Manchester-based rower Zak Lee-Green is aiming to win gold at the Rio 2016 Olympics after admitting London 2012 probably came a little too soon for him.
Zak – a Manchester University dentistry student – won gold at the Amsterdam International Regatta last weekend along with Jamie Coombes in the lightweight mens’s double scull.
He competed in the national trials for London 2012 in the lightweight men’s singles, finishing seventh, with the top six heading to the Games.
He said: “It is disappointing to miss out on London, but my goal is Rio 2016. At the moment, I don’t feel I’m rowing quick enough yet to medal this summer.”
“I don’t want to go to London just to make up the numbers – when I go, I want to win. A couple of our top guys were missing too, so I could’ve been ninth if they competed.”
Zak, who has been rowing for five years, believes Rio 2016 is a realistic goal as he will have finished his education by then, allowing more time for training.
He will enter his final year in September, and he fully acknowledges the workrate that is needed to become an Olympic athlete.
“Rio seems a long way away but the guys who are going to London have been training for it for over four years,” he said.
Zak and Jamie’s win in Amsterdam on Sunday came after a third place on Saturday, behind the Portuguese Olympic boat and their Dutch rivals at under 23-level.
“We weren’t too happy with our performance on Saturday. We came third, but our winning performance on Sunday was much better.”
“It was our first time competing as a pair, so it’s a pretty good return on that basis.”
Next up for Zak is the Under 23 World Rowing Championships in Vilnius, Lithuania between July 11 and 15.
“The aim is gold. We’re the top nation in the world in rowing, so we should always be pushing for medals,” he said.
To keep track of Zak’s progress, follow him on Twitter – @zakleegreen
Image courtesy of Intersport Images/British Rowing