Rob Williams celebrates dream homecoming
By Richard Cutcher • Published 7 Jun 2012 16:35 0 Comments
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Maidenhead's Rob Williams will row for team GB at the 2012 London Olympic Games
MAIDENHEAD rower Rob Williams, who was selected for Team GB on Wednesday, will be part of the largest contingent ever to go to an Olympics this summer.
The announcement made at the Harte & Garter Hotel in Windsor confirms that 48 rowers will compete across 13 of the 14 Olympic boat classes at Eton Dorney.
The GB team train at the Redgrave Pincent Rowing Lake in Caversham every day in all conceivable conditions but after years of gruelling work, the dreams of 48 rowers have finally become reality.
None more so than those of Williams, who learned to row at Dorney Lake and is a member of Maidenhead Rowing Club.
The 27-year-old, who has just completed a PhD at University College London, will row alongside Chris Bartley and brothers Peter and Richard Chambers in the lightweight men's four.
Williams, who was a reserve in Beijing four years ago, admits it will be an emotional experience racing at Dorney Lake, but does not believe it will add much of an advantage knowing the surroundings so well.
Speaking to the Observer, Williams said: "I was a spare at the Beijing Olympics and it was an incredible experience.
"I was able to take in the atmosphere without the added pressure of being in the boat. I think that should help prepare me
On his boat and their chances, he said: "We have messed up a bit recently even though we were favourites so we need to concentrate.
"But if I could choose to be in any boat in the world then I would want to be in ours."
Williams said he was hopeful plenty of his friends and family would be able to watch him compete just down the road.
He said: "The rowing team is incredibly fortunate because it is one of the few Olympic sports which gets a friends and family grandstand. So they can just pop down the road."
Meanwhile, the wait goes on for Windsor's Adam Freeman-Pask, 26, who has yet to be confirmed as part of Team GB despite winning two World Cup golds this year.
Six of the lightwater sculls team were announced in his home town but there is still one space left.
Mark Hunter and Zac Purchase will defend their Olympic title in the men's lightweight pair while Williams and his crew mates take up the other four positions in the squad.
However, there is room for optimism for former Windsor Boys School pupil Freeman-Pask, as GB rowing team performance director David Tanner explains: "We still have one name to come, but we will not be ready to unveil them until after the World Cup in Munich. Adam has had a very good season."
There were more words of encouragement for Freeman-Pask from fellow rower Sam Townsend, who said: "Adam has done incredibly well all year. I will be rooting for him to get in."
Tanner added: "We go to the start in London ready to defend our status as the leading rowing nation from Beijing but we are under no illusion as to how tough winning medals, especially gold medals, will be at this Games."
The squad will continue their preparations for the Games at the final world cup of the season in Munich next Friday.
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