The two-year sports bans handed out to two Oxford Brookes rowers have rocked their Boat Club, but it remains afloat and even more robust at the start of an Olympic year, writes John Wiggins.

The euphoria of winning the fours event at the Ghent International regatta back in May 2015 was soon deflated by the prospect of a routine and tedious dope tests.

But at the time, neither Tim Grant nor Sybren Hoogland might have anticipated the consequences.

Grant was found to have traces of Modafinil having taken Modalert, while the presence of benzoylegonine, a metabolite of cocaine, was evidence of an over-exuberant lifestyle for Hoogland.

The UK Anti-Doping body, UKAD, British Rowing and Oxford Brookes are consistent in their comments both in regard to the unconnected nature of the test results and that neither sought to gain a competitive advantage.

Nicole Sapstead, UKAD’s chief executive, summed up the sad situation, saying: “Hoogland and Grant are young athletes who clearly made the wrong choices in their personal lives.”

While Hoogland has returned to Holland, Grant remains a full time student at Oxford Brookes.

A statement from the university said: “Tim and Sybren were suspended from competition, rowing and training following the event in May. Both rowers are no longer members of the Oxford Brookes Boat Club.”

Their bans run until 2017 but as UKAD added, “Hoogland and Grant have damaged their sporting careers and their reputations.”

Andy Parkinson, himself a former CEO of UKAD and in his first year as British Rowing CEO, said: “British Rowing takes a very clear stance on anti-doping and we are incredibly disappointed with both cases.

“This is a wake-up call for aspiring rowers in the UK”.

The announcement came on the same day as Team GB celebrated another great year of world championship medals at their dinner.

Oxford Brookes undergraduate Joel Cassells was awarded the ‘Mark Lees Foundation Award’ for most promising U23 male athlete, after winning both the European & world championships in the lightweight men’s pair.

l Domestically, strong winds put paid to several events, though Magdalen College School defied the odds to race and win at the Avon County Autumn Head through their J16 double of Jovan Korica and Ben Ward Wallingford’s Sean Morris took his fifth masters title in the Silverskiff race at Turin.