World Cup first stage of Chapman's Rio revenge
Every athlete has niggles. It won't cause long-term damage, just short-term discomfort" ... James Chapman (second from left). Photo: James Chapman
"A lot of people have a lot of opinions. In my opinion, I will race in the World Cup."
With those words, Olympic silver medallist James Chapman dismissed those who doubt he is ready to race again, despite a tendon injury that has plagued him since the London Games.
Chapman said his tendinopathy – an injury stemming from overuse – can be treated and will not need surgery. "Every athlete has niggles. It won't cause long-term damage, just short-term discomfort."
Chapman's declaration brought cheer to his lunchtime audience at the launch of this month's King's and Queen's Cup interstate regatta at the Sydney International Regatta Centre. There, Chapman will race in the NSW men's coxed eight, chasing a sixth consecutive win.
In a first for the sport, the interstate titles will be one of four events held at the SIRC from March 18 to 24, the others being the Australian Rowing Championships, Australian Open Schools Rowing Championships and World Rowing Cup.
But from the record entry of more than 2000 athletes in 110 events for the week, Chapman's entry for the World Cup is most significant.
Australia will now have two entries in the men's coxless four event, with his crew having three of the four who won Olympic silver at Eton Dorney last year in an epic battle against Great Britain, who went on the win the gold medal.
Determined to make one step up the Olympic podium at Rio in 2016 are Victorians Josh Dunkley-Smith and Will Lockwood. Absent is Drew Ginn, now Rowing Australia's head coach, replaced by fellow Victorian Josh Booth, a member of the Olympic men's coxed eight who is back in RA's favour after being sent home from London for his drunken behaviour after the eights final.
As passionate as Chapman is for the King's Cup eights title, the World Cup – the first ever in Sydney – is the starting point for his journey to Rio.
The three members of the British Olympic four who will be in Sydney – Alex Gregory, Peter Reed and Andrew Triggs Hodge – have opted to skip the coxless four race for the eight. Chapman understands why, as the British four will be targeted as the crew to beat right up until 2016.
That pursuit will start at the World Cup. "It would be great to have the shoot-out [with the British]," he said. "But they'll be watching, we know that."