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UK team leader: "I'm sure China will win gold medal in rowing"
16:18, August 07, 2008

British rowing team leader David Tanner said here Thursday that the Chinese rowing team would certainly reap its first ever gold medal at the Beijing Olympics.

In an exclusive midday interview with Xinhua in the Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park, Tanner said that he was deeply impressed by the recent performance of the Chinese rowers in both World Championships and World Cup.

"I am quite impressed with the Chinese team. You have the women's double and pair and a very good system. They can be competitive with many boats. I am sure you have the ability to win the first gold medal this time," he said.

Tanner said he was in the park when the World Junior Championship was held here and witnessed how the park was built.

"I was here in October 2006. There was no water in the lake at that time. I have a picture of that," he added.

On the performance his team, he said that four boat classes of British rowers have the potential to win medals at the Beijing Games, but he was careful in choice of words and declined to give any specific indications.

However, Tanner said that British rowers are now ready for the competition.

"We mostly train in Britain. Sometimes we train in Spain and go for contests in Austria and Germany. We have a wet weather in Britain. But we can train all year round because the lakes are not frozen in winter. That's the price we pay for the wet weather," he said.

On whether his team had participated in any competition in the Shunyi park, he said that his team did not need to do that.

"One lake is quite similar to another lake, you know. Lakes are similar, not like the slalom water courses," he added.

Britain has a long tradition of rowing. Its rowers have won a total of 22 Olympic gold medals in rowing, including one at Athens Olympics four years ago. The British team for the Beijing Olympic Games will compete in 12 of the 14 rowing events.


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