Director of performance Brendan Purcell knows British Rowing has to deliver at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, even if the sport is one in flux.

Rowing has seen a host of top names leave since Rio 2016 and as a consequence results have suffered.

Britain collected only one gold at last year’s World Championships and none at the European Championships.

Great Britain did not win any gold medals at last year's European Championships
Great Britain did not win any gold medals at last year’s European Championships (Ian Rutherford/PA)

Despite that, the Australian says he is ‘energised’ by the potential for the future, but is having to strike a balancing act in order to meet UK Sport’s medal target for next summer.

“We have had a few conversations with UK Sport about where we are at and that has been quite an adult conversation,” Purcell told Press Association Sport.

“We have come to an agreement about being on track and where we need to be. I know we will be judged on results in 18 months’ time and I am comfortable with that.

“All I can look at is whether we have done everything in our power to shift things forward.

Great Britain have enjoyed plenty of Olympic success in rowing
Great Britain have enjoyed plenty of Olympic success in rowing (Mike Egerton/PA)

“We have got an agreed number with UK Sport. It has got to be a target that is respectful of the athlete potential.”

Rowing has delivered huge success to Team GB over the years and some of the most recognisable sporting names in the country have been Olympic rowers.

Losing so many is bound to hit results, but Purcell insists things are looking up.

“We are in an exciting place and I say that on the back of the results last year, which weren’t where we wanted them to be,” he added.

“If we look at the make up of that team we had two returning Olympians on the women’s team from 2016, the same time last cycle it was six.

“On the men’s side we only had eight returning, last time it was 13. Those 13 all had Olympic medals, the eight this time only two of them had medals.

“Why that makes it exciting for us is that it is an energiser to everyone in the group that we have to look at things differently. We can’t just rely on history.

“We are starting to see training performances which are ranking absolutely on the same level that we had in the same Olympic cycle.

“The exciting bit is how we can accelerate that to turn from potential into delivery.”

Purcell was speaking at the launch of the Ranking Points Index, devised by SAS, the official analytics partner for British Rowing.

The system will help Purcell track rowers and their performance in terms of where they need to be to be selected.

He added: “The Ranking Points Index will be about the future, beyond 2020. It will help us have a clearer picture, it gives that information we can rely.”

Brendan Purcell was speaking at the launch of the SAS Ranking Points Index on behalf of SAS, Official Analytics Partner for British Rowing. For further information visit