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Olympics rowers inch nearer knowing their fate

Video: Rower Dan Ritchie in training for Olympic gold


As we mark 150 days to the Olympics, Kent rowers Dan Ritchie and Tom Ransley are inching ever nearer to qualifying.

The duo will come tantalisingly close to their dreams on March 10-11 when they compete at Eton Dorney – the venue for the rowing and canoe sprint events during London 2012 – against their Great Britain team-mates.

Their silver medals at the World Rowing Championships last year make them among the favourites for a place in the men's eight squad.

But such is the strength of British rowing at the moment, neither athlete can be certain of a place at the Olympics - from Friday, July 27.

Dan, 25, who was born in Margate and grew up in Herne Bay, said: "I don't take anything for granted but I'm confident in what I've done and my performances in the past.

"I've done more races than anyone else in the team this Olympiad and I'm very happy with how I've approached my training, so I'm confident that I'll be in the boat in London.

"Other people will step their game up though and everyone wants that seat, so it's a difficult one to hold on to."

Tom, 26, from Ashford, added: "I'm a superstitious person and I wouldn't want to jinx myself but the squad's in a really good position and I'm looking forward to the next few weeks.

"London has been my goal for the last few years and it would mean a great deal to get the call up."

Even after the trials at Eton Dorney next month, chief coach Jürgen Grobler could still make changes to the squad based on athletes' performances at the World Rowing Cup, which kicks off in Belgrade, Serbia, in May.

For Dan, 25, the Olympics would be the culmination of almost a decade of hard work on the international stage.

Dan's own dream was almost shattered by a hamstring injury last year but intense training – his days begin at 6.30am and are fuelled by a bowl of up to 10 Weetabix for breakfast – has made him even hungrier for success.

"To represent the country this summer would be amazing," he said.

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