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Londoners chasing glory at Eton Dorney

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Great Britain’s Paralympic rowers are looking to emulate their Olympic counterparts at Eton Dorney today.

All three crew GB crews have reached finals, hoping to bring more medals to the tally, with reigning Paralympic and world champion Tom Aggar, from London, racing in the men’s single sculls.

Aggar will race in lane three next to China’s Cheng Huang, who set a world best in the heats, and 2011 world bronze medallist Erik Horrie of Australia.

Aleksey Chuvashev from Russia, who won silver behind Aggar at the 2011 world championships, races in lane five with Korea’s Jun-Ha Park and Brazil’s Luciano Luna de Oliveira in the outside lanes.

“You go out with the mindset to push yourself to the absolute limit and race hard, race your best race and as long as I have spent myself then whatever the result is I’ll be pleased,” said Aggar, 28, who is unbeaten since he started racing internationally in 2007.

“I knew it was always going to be tough. I have been saying it for a while. Everyone raises their game. What will be, will be.

“To see the stands almost filled is fantastic for the heats and I am sure it will be even louder for the final.”

Army captain Nick Beighton, 30, from Shrewsbury, and Sam Scowen, 24, from Wokingham, will follow Aggar’s race down the Dorney course, past the view of Windsor Castle and into the roar before the line of bubbles which marks the finish line.

“We’re looking forward to tomorrow just to do ourselves proud,” said Beighton, who praised the team’s togetherness as a key to its success in getting every Olympic and Paralympic crew into finals.

“We are part of a greater whole. Within the Paralympic squad there is a fabulous feel. There is a really tight-knit group, a happy group. That is critical to success because it is not just what happens on the water here necessarily, it is all those hard hours you put in training away in the winter in Banyoles when you have a laugh and take the mick out of each other.

“And then to train alongside the Olympic squad at Caversham it is a culture of success and you get swept up in that and you get a lot of belief from that.”

The GB mixed double Scullers earned a place in lane five for the final after winning their repechage yesterday and line up with two crews who set world bests in the heats, France and China.

The talented field also features strong crews from the USA, Italy and Australia.

The final race of the regatta is the mixed coxed four.

The GB world champions, including Londoners Naomi Riches and cox Lily van den Broecke, were inspired by the crowd en route to winning their heat and hope the noise will guide them home in the lead one more time.

“It’s like rowing in a stadium,” said 34-year-old David Smith, who previously competed for GB at karate and bobsleigh before switching to Paralympic rowing.

GB race in lane three next to fellow heat-winners Germany, who won silver behind the hosts at the 2012 Munich World Cup, and Ukraine who won bronze in Munich. Italy, China and USA complete a highly competitive field for the final race.

Smith added: “We race to win our race and focus on our own boat as you can’t control the uncontrolables. We’ll just stick to our plan and hope we cross the line first.

“The sport is always stepping on. We’re never complacent but we’ll focus on what we know and what we do. We’ll go out on and put down our best performance.”

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