IT seems in British canoeing the turbulence isn’t restricted to the water. Bradley Forbes-Cryans remembers being “overwhelmed with emotion” when he fulfilled a childhood ambition by qualifying for the Olympics.

A fourth-placed finish at the world championships last September saw him agonisingly miss out on a medal but came with the sweetest of consolation prizes – a seat on the GB plane to Tokyo this summer.

“My family, friends and sponsors were all there with me at the time,” recalls the 24 year-old from Edinburgh.

“It’s not a moment you can prepare yourself for. It was quite overwhelming. I was almost happier for my support team as they’ve been with me all the way and I could see what it meant to them.”

Not everyone was happy for him, however. In deservedly claiming the one Olympic spot up for grabs, Forbes-Cryans denied Joe Clarke the chance to retain the K1 Slalom gold he picked up in Rio in 2016.

The selection process was clear from the outset but the decision to stick with the Scot evidently did not sit well with some. That has meant a difficult build-up to Tokyo for Forbes-Cryans, a situation not of his making.

“The last few months have been a real rollercoaster,” he admits. “There’s only one person selected for each Olympic category whereas normally at other events it’s three.

“So for me to be selected ahead of the current Olympic champion was big news. I had been delivering some good runs but it all came down to the world championships. I gave it my best and it paid off for me.

“That was great but there have been highs and lows since then. It’s been a bit of a turbulent time within the team. Some people are frustrated that they’re not going. I’m just trying to get on with my training, keep my head down and keep the atmosphere as sweet as possible.

“The selection policy had been set out 12 months prior. Everyone knew the territory. That was the same for Joe, too. He’s had some good times over the last few years, especially winning gold in Rio. Unfortunately this time he’s come up on the wrong side of it.

“I do feel for him. But equally this is something I’ve been chasing for the last 13 years of my life. It’s not like I’ve not put the effort in and don’t deserve this.”

It has been a steep learning curve for the Scot, an innocent victim in a world of sporting political shenanigans.

“You begin your career because you fall in love with the sport. And you don’t realise then that there will be upset caused by political goings-on.

“It’s definitely something as a more senior athlete that I’ve started to manage better. I don’t like to upset anyone so it’s been a really difficult thing to navigate since the world championships.

“I’ve fallen foul a little bit of people taking what happened out on me on social media. That was difficult for a while. All I can do is train hard and prove to everyone that I deserve to be out there at the Games.”

His relationship with Clarke has become strained. “Things are a little quiet between us at the minute,” he admitted. “We’re just trying to keep it as professional as possible. And when the Games are out the way hopefully we can get on with being a team again.”

He is eager to put all that to one side as he looks to emulate the likes of fellow Scots Campbell Walsh and David Florence by winning an Olympic canoeing medal.

It is something that has been in the back of his mind since he first stepped into a boat as a 10-year old.

“I went along to a youth club in the summer months when I was a kid and they ran a canoeing club down at the Musselburgh lagoons,” he recalled. “The first year I was too young so the following year I was desperate for that chance to come around again. And I loved it straight away.

“I remember my first time sitting in a boat and I just felt really natural and comfortable. And I’ve just worked my way up from there.

“I remember watching David Florence get his Olympic silver in Beijing. And that really stayed with me. Seeing that and hearing about Campbell Walsh - two Scottish guys winning medals - was hugely inspiring. And that was something I really wanted to achieve, too.”

That thought has helped motivate him during difficult times. “There was a training session the other day that I wasn’t happy about. And my coach said, “In six months’ time you could have an Olympic gold medal and all these bad times will become completely irrelevant”. And I hope he’s right.”