By Tom Masters
Tom George knows he can learn from the mistakes of a year ago as he looks to take two steps up the podium at the World Rowing Championships in Belgrade next week.
George is set to go for gold in the men’s coxless pairs alongside Ollie Wynne-Griffith, with whom he earned bronze at last year’s World Championships in Racice.
The duo also took 2022 European silver in Munich before missing out at that event in Bled this year due to injury and illness, but Cheltenham-born George knows the pair are better off for their trials and tribulations having only begun working together two years ago.
“We said after last year’s Worlds we felt we made mistakes throughout the season, we knew where they were so it is exciting to be able to right some wrongs,” he said.
“We probably didn’t have the best run-in last year. Our start was a bit inconsistent; being really solid and knowing exactly what is going to come out every time we start is something we have really worked on. That has been reflected in races so far this season.
“We have moved on a lot, I think we are in a much better place than we were last year. We are more confident in what we are trying to do and achieve every time we go on the water. We are in a good spot, and it is exciting to see what we can produce.
“Ultimately the aim is to win gold and leave as world champions and set ourselves really well to head into an Olympic year.”
Whatever the pair has changed this season has clearly made a difference, with the duo becoming the fastest-ever British pair while also breaking the World Cup best time of Kiwi double Olympic coxless pairs champions Hamish Bond and Eric Murray in Varese in June.
And with the prize of Olympic qualification also on the line in Belgrade, George is looking forward to producing his best on one of the biggest stages ahead of Paris next summer.
“Racing the world is always fun and this year there is Olympic qualification as well which adds another dimension to it,” he added. “It’s an exciting time.
“It is pretty special to be on there and we took that record off Hamish and Eric, the Kiwi pair who are the best rowers ever.
“To be able to take a time off them is pretty special but every time you race you have to reproduce. It’s great to have but we have moved on from it.
“The Olympics is always there in the background, and you are always aware of it but the week in Belgrade will just be focused on winning the Worlds and you know if you win the Worlds, you will have sorted qualification.
“Paris is always on your mind. Our only Olympic experience in Tokyo which was quite limited so having the opportunity to do a proper Olympics a stone’s throw from London is pretty special.”
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