By Oli Dickson Jefford
Marcus Chute went from doubting his sporting prowess at school to cementing his place as one of British rowing’s brightest prospects throughout a stellar 2022.
The past year has been a monumental one for the Windsor star, who was crowned single sculls European U19 champion back in May and also finished fifth on the world stage later in the summer.
Chute now finds himself rowing at Princeton University in New Jersey - one of America’s elite Ivy League colleges - though it is only by chance that he ever took up the sport to begin with.
Convinced he’d struggle at any sport, Chute only started rowing at school because a friend decided to - a decision that’s proven incredibly fruitful in hindsight, despite a few ups and downs along the way.
He said: “I went to Windsor Boys School, and when I got there everyone had to do this test in order to do rowing. After I did it one of my friends decided they wanted to try out rowing. I wasn’t very good at any other sport, so I thought I’d give it a go - it’s just gone from there.
“Rowing is pretty hard to start out with, it’s definitely a long process. I just found it very rewarding, after every time you had a good session it was a pretty euphoric feeling. The lows are low but the highs are high, especially at the start.
SportsAid is delighted to reveal the 🔟 talented young athletes on the shortlist for the One-to-Watch Award 2022 🏆
The annual award shines a spotlight on the incredible achievements of Britain’s brightest sporting prospects 👏
▶️ https://t.co/tpJfiUVWAr #CelebrateTheNext pic.twitter.com/gvwJJ8fCvn
— SportsAid (@TeamSportsAid) November 1, 2022
“The first competition I did, I remember it was Bedford Small Boats Head and it was snowing, it was really cold, and I just remember racing a not very good time, but I’m thankful that I stuck with it.
“In that year, my first year, we managed to get a bronze medal at the National Schools Regatta, and that was just really something all worth it and made me think that actually I wanted to stick with the sport.”
Years of early wake up calls and lengthy training sessions are clearly paying off for Chute, who is targeting collegiate success and a place in the World U23 Championships in the not too distant future.
And now his hard work has been recognised with a nomination for SportsAid’s annual One-to-Watch Award, shortlisted in the top 10 from a raft of 1,000 young athletes supported by the charity across 60 different sports.
The award was launched in 2006 to shine a spotlight on the outstanding achievements of Britain’s brightest young prospects, with Tom Daley, Hollie Arnold, Courtney Tulloch, Amber Hill, Morgan Lake and Alex Yee among the former winners.
Chute, who received his SportsAid support from Thompson Trust this year, added: “My coach told me who had won it before, it’s just crazy to think that you’re somewhat in the same category as those types of people you see on TV, that are known by so many people.
“It’s really cool to be recognised for putting all the hard work in. I guess it’s something I never thought would happen five years ago.”
The winner of SportsAid’s prestigious One-to-Watch Award will be revealed at the charity’s Celebrate the Next event, supported by Royal Bank of Canada, in London on Thursday 17 November. Please visit www.sportsaid.org.uk for further information.