Ransley and Searle set sights on medals

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Heats in the rowing begin at Eton Dorney this morning with all eyes focussed on Britain’s comeback kid.

At 40, Greg Searle is one of the most senior members of the whole British team, and the rowing squad’s most experienced campaigner.

It is 20 years since he won gold at Barcelona with his brother Jonny and cox Garry Herbert in the pairs event.

He retired after the Sydney Games of 2000, only to return in 2010 for one last shot at Olympic glory.

His journey continues today in the men’s eight, alongside a veritable rookie by comparison, 
in York Rowing Club’s Tom Ransley.

It is that mix of youth and experience which fills Ransley, 26, with the confidence that the eight will be in the mix for medals come Wednesday’s final.

“The whole eight, not just Greg Searle, brings something different, everyone brings their own experiences,” said Ransley ahead of this morning’s heat.

“That gives us a good level of understanding about racing.

“We have all gone through (head coach) Jurgen Grobler’s programme for a number of years now, and there’s differences and similarities.

“Another gold is probably quite a big motivation for Greg but everyone has their own different reasons why they are doing the Olympics, which drives them on.

“For me it’s the recognition that this is the pinnacle of what I want to achieve in life.”

Guiseley’s Debbie Flood goes in the heats of the women’s quad sculls as she looks to go one better than the silver medals she won in Athens and Beijing.