Campbell and Hodge eye Olympic glory

Alan Campbell believes he can improve on his career-best world silver medal as he targets Olympic gold in the single scull at London 2012.

And another west London rower, Olympic champion Andy Hodge, believes Great Britian have formed a near unbeatable four after he and Pete Reed moved back into the boat that brought them gold in Beijing.

The GB squad was announced on Wednesday for the first World Cup of 2012, with performance director David Tanner saying line-ups are likely to remain very similar right the way through to the Olympics.

Campbell (pictured above), 28, from Chiswick club Tideway Scullers School, had considered a switch to a larger boat but his resounding success in the single in GB squad trials convinced him to go it alone again.

In 2009 he broke the old world record in the single but was still half a length behind New Zealand’s Mahe Drysdale in the World Championship final in Poznan, Poland.

Drysdale won his fifth world title in 2011, ahead of Czech Ondrej Synek, while Campbell took bronze after a season blighted by glandular fever.

“I think I can be quicker than I was in Poznan, when I got silver and broke the world record,” said Campbell, and warned that Drysdale will again be the man to beat in London.

“We’re very confident it’s the right move for me.

“Mahe’s performance and consistency is ridiculous. He is very determined and if I can put myself in front of him, I doubt he’d be in the bronze medal position.”

Hodge and Reed were widely expected to move from the pair, where they have been forced to accept world silver behind New Zealand in each of the last three years, to the coxless four.

Head coach Jurgen Grobler still needs to make a final decision over whether Alex Partridge or Tom James will join Hodge, Reed and Alex Gregory in the line-up.

But Hodge, 33, said: “I’ve seen how fast this boat can go off no training together when we tried it last year and it was astonishingly fast.

“Part of me thinks we could get together on the day and be a formidable four. You give us a couple of weeks and we’re going to be electric. If we can have a clean run from here I’ll be damned if anyone’s going to beat us or even come close.”

Great Britain will contest three World Cup regattas – with the first in Belgrade, Serbia, from 4 May – before announcing their final Olympic line-ups on 6 June.

Hodge is captain of Molsey Boat Club, which provided six men to the squad, including 1992 Olympic champion Greg Searle in the eight.

Bill Lucas, from Putney-based London Rowing Club, is in a new-look double scull after surprisingly strong performances in trials and club-mate Sophie Hosking has a new partner in Katherine Copeland in the lightweight double.

Click here to see the Great Britain squad in full

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