Alan Campbell is eyeing Rio after tasting medal glory
Olympic bronze medallist Alan Campbell is targeting a return to top form in time for next year's Games in Rio after finishing third in the final of the single sculls at the third World Cup regatta of the season in Lucerne on Sunday.
The Coleraine rower has endured a difficult year as he works his way back from injury - the 32-year-old had not managed a podium finish at an international regatta since June 2013 - but a bronze in Switzerland represents a significant step forward ahead of August's World Championships, where he will hope to qualify for a fourth Olympics.
Twelve months on from finishing 14th overall at the competition, and being informed during the trip home that he would be dropped from that year's World Championships, Campbell was thrilled to answer his critics.
"I'm just pleased with that performance," he said. "To come back from last year like that, to go from 14th to bronze feels like a gold-medal performance to me.
"It takes a lot of pressure off. There has been a huge amount of pressure because there has been a lot of doubt as to whether I was going to be able to come back from last year."
Looking ahead to the trip to Aiguebelette in France next month, he added: "I think there's a middle group of us on the edge of the 'A' final and the medals.
"I hope that I've put myself up to the top of that pile to be pushing onto the podium for this year's World Championships.
"For me that's a positive step forward looking towards Rio."
Richard Chambers was unable to match the top-three finish of Campbell in the lightweight double sculls after his partner Will Fletcher picked up an injury.
Reserve Jono Clegg joined up with Chambers but the duo could only manage fifth place.