Olympic Games - Bryan determined to emulate London star Copeland

Teenage rower Beth Bryan dedicated her gap year in 2012 to training and competing instead of travelling in order to ensure she was recognised by British selectors.


And, having seen it pay off with selection for the Australian Youth Olympic Festival, Bryan has her sights firmly set on emulating best friend, training partner and Olympic champion Kat Copeland (pictured).

The 19-year-old won gold at the prestigious Henley Royal Regatta and bronze at the British Under-23 Championships as well as impressing at the trials to earn a spot at the Festival.

And, having watched Copeland make the transition from Festival gold and bronze medallist in 2009 to Olympic champion at London 2012, she's hopeful she can deliver a similar performance.

Copeland won the lightweight double sculls title with Sophie Hosking at Eton Dorney and has been quick to hand out advice to Bryan who admits it has made her feel comfortable about her trip Down Under.

"I don't think it has actually sunk in that we are going to Australia," said Bryan, who is due to compete in the pair, the four and the eight. "It is really exciting and receiving the kit was like an early Christmas present for everyone.

"I took a gap year in order to specifically focus on training and I had the aim of going to Australia, so now that I have achieved it, is fantastic.

"My best friend Kat won gold at the Olympics, which was really awesome, and we went down to join her afterwards which was like being in a different world. All the athletes were having a great time.

"I train with Kat and I have known her for ages. She went to Australia in 2009 and it is something I want to follow. If she can do it then it makes it more real for me.

"Kat has been very helpful and supportive. She told me what to expect and that going to Australia was the best time she has ever had so I can't wait. It's a lot of fun and I hope to experience the same."

Bryan is one of 120 Brits in total selected for the Australian Youth Olympic Festival, which will see approximately 1,700 athletes from 30 countries compete across 17 different sports.

But Bryan insists she isn't going to Australia to simply soak up the sun, determined to return back to the cooler climes of the UK with a medal to declare at customs.

"Other people take a gap year for reasons like wanting to travel but for me it was to make sure I was competing," she added.

"Seeing Kat achieve what she did and then the recognition she got afterwards made me want it more because I know what can happen."

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