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Page last updated at 13:36 GMT, Wednesday, 30 July 2008 14:36 UK

Smith pleased to row for Britain

Colin Smith
Smith will stroke the GB men's eight in Beijing

Great Britain rower Colin Smith is grateful for the chance to represent his adopted nation at the Olympics.

The Zimbabwe-born Oxford University ace, 24, will represent GB in the men's eights in Beijing due to residency, having lived in the UK since 2000.

He told BBC Radio Berkshire: "I've had things really fall well into place for me here, to represent my other country, Great Britain, at the Olympic Games.

"We've got so many things to be so grateful for here."

The Leander Club rower added: "A lot of people take them for granted."

Smith left Harare in 2000, coming to England to study at Henley College and then Oxford University.

We try to avoid the politics [in China]. To be quite frank, we would do it wherever we were invited to go and do it

Colin Smith

Smith is aware of political problems in his homeland but added that Zimbabwe is not the only issue on his mind.

"I think the two things that seem to be distracting people more than anything else are the politics and the pollution [in China].

"If you look at the politics, then, as far as possible, we try to avoid that. To be quite frank, we would do it wherever we were invited to go and do it.

"Medals will be given out and it's up to us to go out there and get them."

The men's eight is seen by many as the blue riband event of the rowing schedule and Smith is optimistic about his crew's chances.

"Success can be defined in many different ways.

"I think we have a really good chance of winning a medal, and a reasonable chance of winning the gold.

"It's a fantastic mix of guys in our crew - we've got one of the oldest guys as well as the youngest guy.

"We've got some very experienced medallists, people who've been in the team for several Olympiads now."

The men's eight begin their campaign in the heats on Sunday, 10 August.

see also
Team GB for Beijing
21 Jul 08 |  Team GB
Rowing on the BBC
13 May 08 |  Rowing

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