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Whitlam seat in boat confirmed for Olympics
3:35pm Thursday 19th July 2012 in Sport
IT is full steam ahead for Warrington rower Olivia Whitlam now that her place in a London 2012 boat is confirmed.
The 26-year-old from Daresbury was one of 10 Olympics hopefuls battling for a place in the women’s eight but after a decent showing in the recent World Cup regattas she has made the cut.
With former Lymm High School pupil Richard Egington included in the men’s eight, for the second Olympics on the bounce the town will have two rowing rep-resentatives to cheer along with Johny Akinyemi in canoe slalom, Holly Lam-Moores in handball and Hazel Musgrove in water polo.
For Beijing, Agecroft Rowing Club’s Whitlam was a late call-up to compete in the women’s pair but this time a four-year journey of preparation can be put to the test – although a spell on the sidelines after a horse riding accident must have tested her nerve.
“I’ve enjoyed being back in the GB set-up again after breaking my collarbone last year,” said Whitlam.
“I’m focused again because to be the best at this sport there’s no other way to approach things.
“I’ve been injury-free too, which always helps.
“I was training up at Agecroft in the run-up to Beijing and was only called up to race at the first World Cup a fortnight earlier. It was really late.
“The situation is different now; we’re in the hunt for a medal. That’s the standard we’ve set ourselves and we want to reach it.
“I believe we can step up and deliver.”
She has learned from her adventure in China in 2008.
“I really wanted to enjoy Beijing and that will be my attitude again [in London],” she said.
“Of course I want to perform well, but I want to make the most of the experience too.
“If I wasn’t an athlete, I’d be going crazy to get involved and would be getting excited.
“I spoke to one of the sports psychologists attached to the team at the start of the year, the result of which was to admit that there’s no way of cutting off completely from what will be going on around the country.
“It’s impossible to avoid or ignore it.”