Olympic canoe champion Etienne Stott believes the signs are promising after he and Mark Proctor got their new partnership off to a winning start this weekend.
The 35-year-old won C2 canoe double gold at London 2012 with Tim Baillie, although the sporting pairing are no more following the latter’s retirement at the start of this year.
It has meant a search for a new partner for Stott ahead of the countdown to Rio 2016 – a process not helped by him battling a serious shoulder injury since 2013.
But finally back to full fitness, Stott was joined by Proctor for the Paul McConkey Memorial Race at Holme Pierrepont in what was their first competitive since joining forces back in July.
A national ranking series event, the race acted as a competition where paddlers can qualify for the GB team trials in 2015.
And the duo more than seized the opportunity, incurring just one minor penalty out of four runs at the National Water Sports Centre to take victory and with it, open up the chance to make the British squad for World Cup events and major championships in the build up to Rio.
Stott told the Nottingham Post: "It was our first competitive race together as a crew and the first time I had sat on a start line in a race in 14 months since my injury.
"It was a bit of an adventure. It is something me and Mark have been very used to during our careers but the first time together, so it was difficult to know what it was going to be like. So it was very satisfying to perform solidly, so consistently and to get faster each time.
"We treated it quite seriously and did lots of very intense preparation because we knew we had so few opportunities to race for this place at the trials.
"It was a big decision for both of us to team up, a courageous decision, but it's been good to feel like the project is off to a good start and we have laid the foundations for what is coming ahead."
© Sportsbeat 2014