Olympic D-day for Thomas

Graeme Thomas
Graeme Thomas
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The pressure is firmly on Preston rower Graeme Thomas this week as he looks to turn his 2016 Olympic dream into reality.

The 27-year-old is hoping all the years of training will come to fruition when he takes part in the Team GB Trials at the Redgrave-Pinsent Rowing Lake in Caversham.

Thomas will go up against his fellow countrymen as he looks to book his place on the plane to Rio de Janeiro later this year.

The former Corpus Christie High School pupil faces a 2km individual time trial today, which will hopefully precede an appearance in a semi-final followed by a grand final.

Having trained for this moment for the past seven years – ever since he joined the elite development programme – Thomas accepts the next couple of days are huge in his life.

“It’s a very big few days coming up,” said Thomas. “It’s the culmination of four years of training.

“I just want to get this out of the way and know that I am going to the Olympics.”

Thomas has been in this situation before – four years ago he was a rookie looking to gatecrash London 2012.

On that occasion he was not one of the favourites to qualify and he failed to make the final cut, despite a spirited performance in the trials.

Since then he has won medals at major international meetings, including a silver in the men’s quadruple scull at the 2014 World Championships in Amsterdam.

His progress over the past four years means he is now an established member of the rowing squad and plenty is expected of him today.

“There is a lot more pressure this time,” said Thomas.

“Last time in 2012 I was not one of the favourites to qualify.

“It was an outside chance that I would qualify, although it was still a good chance.

“Now I am one of the more established members of the team – there is that expectation this time. I am just hoping I can perform on the day and do myself justice.”

With so much at stake, Thomas admits his emotions have varied over the last few days.

“I have had my ups and down in terms of my nerves,” he said. “On Sunday, I was feeling a bit more nervous but I woke up yesterday feeling more upbeat.

“You are always going to get those different emotions.

“I have just got remember that it was my choice to put myself in this position – nobody has forced me.

“This is what I want to do and it’s case of trying to enjoy it and if you do that then you are going to perform better.”