FEATURE: Jonny Walton aiming to ‘do a Leicester’ at Olympic Trials

Leicester rower Jonny Walton is taking inspiration from his hometown football club’s remarkable Premiership title challenge as he sets his sights on a medal at Rio 2016.


Jonny Walton and John Collins qualified the men's double scull for Rio 2016 © Peter Spurrier/Intersport Images

The 25-year-old sculler, who is preparing for next week’s GB Rowing Team Olympic Trials, is a keen football fan and admits to a sense of joyous disbelief at Leicester City’s achievements this season.

And Walton believes there are parallels to be drawn between the unlikely success of Claudio Ranieri’s men – five points clear at the top of the table with eight games to go – and the preparations of the GB Rowing Team as they look to make Britain proud this summer.

“I still can’t believe what’s happening this season,” said Walton, who started his career at Leicester Rowing Club.

“They’ve just had a real tough run of matches and are still top of the league, so anything is possible.

“All the players look happy at Leicester, there is a real team spirit, and it’s similar to what we have here. I can definitely see a similarity – the belief is there and everyone is willing each other to do well.

“’Doing a Leicester’ is now being used for when you do something pretty good, so fingers crossed I get to ‘do a Leicester’ at the Olympics.”

The intensity has really stepped up this season, everyone is really fighting for their place

Walton first represented GB as a junior in 2008 and progressed through the U23 ranks before establishing himself in the senior squad in 2013.

He has spent the last couple of seasons in the men’s double scull with John Collins and qualified the boat for Rio with an eighth-placed finish at last year’s World Championships in Aiguebelette, France.

Since then Walton has strengthened his claim for a Rio place by recording two top-four finishes in the winter assessments in Boston, Lincolnshire. He will be looking for a similar strong result when the Olympic Trials take place at the GB Rowing Team’s Caversham headquarters near Reading from March 21-23.

“I’m just so surprised at how quickly this season is going, I can’t really believe there is less than six months to go,” said Walton.

“There’s been lots of training, lots of miles done and I can’t complain about how things have gone so far.

“The intensity has really stepped up this season, everyone is really fighting for their place. No seats are safe, you just have to keep doing what you’re doing every day to the best of your ability.

“The Olympics have always been a dream for me. I know it would be just an amazing experience and that is what’s getting me through all this training at the moment.”

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