Natasha aims at Beijing glory

NORTH Norfolk will be cheering for West Runton rower Natasha Howard on Sunday afternoon in the women's eight final in the Beijing Olympics.She was a member of the Great Britain crew who today finished third in the repecharge to make the final in their quest for a surprise gold medal.

NORTH Norfolk will be cheering for West Runton rower Natasha Howard on Sunday afternoon in the women's eight final in the Beijing Olympics.

She was a member of the Great Britain crew who today finished third in the repecharge to make the final in their quest for a surprise gold medal.

“We can't start thinking about medals until we make the final,” she said ahead of the repecharge.”

Now thoughts can be sharply focused.


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The 27-year-old saw her British boat trail home second in heat one to need the repecharge. America finished first in a competitive heat in a time of 6:06.53, with the British crew trailing home more than two seconds behind.

But concerns that the GB boat would not be in Sunday's final disappeared in yesterday's repecharge.

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After a slow start in fifth place, the British boat came third in a close finish behind Canada and the Netherlands but ahead of Australia to be one of the four boats to qualify for the final.

Howard refused to be downcast after the first heat, chasing down an experienced German and Canadian boat after a sluggish opening 500m.

“It went really well but we would obviously have loved to have won,” said Howard. “But we are up there and there is stuff to work on.

“To come back through the Americans, which is something we have never done before and for it to be tight at the end is very positive.

“We are working well as a team and have the right momentum. We have been working so much on simple technique and making sure it is all together and spot on every time.

The plan for the repechage was to try and win it, be a bit faster off the start, quicker through that last 500m.

The British crew, who won bronze at last year's World Championships in Munich, is a tight-knit bunch.

Earlier this year - just for team-building - they enrolled on a City & Guilds Progression Course in Motor Vehicle Servicing & Repair at a college near their London training base.

And Howard was rightly convinced that unity and team spirit would see them challenge for a final berth.

“It is a strong field and a tough event. I think we could get a final place, I don't see why we shouldn't be up there and racing to get to the final.

Lloyds TSB are proud first partner of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and supporter of Team GB on their journey to 2012.

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