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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 August, 2004, 17:29 GMT 18:29 UK
Canada throw down gauntlet
Britain's coxless fours
Canada's rowing coach has laid down the challenge to Great Britain's boat ahead of the coxless fours final on Saturday.

Former GB coach Mike Spracklen believes all the pressure will be on the British four as Matthew Pinsent aims to win his fourth successive rowing gold medal.

"Everyone's wondering if they can win and Pinsent can get his fourth gold, so it is definitely with them," he said.

World champions Canada are Britain's main threat for the gold medal and the race looks set to go down to the wire.

Spracklen helped to guide Sir Steve Redgrave to two of his five Olympic golds.

But after an acrimonious split with the British rowing authorities three years ago, Spracklen is now in charge of Great Britain's main rivals in the coxless fours.

And he criticised Great Britain's decision to focus their efforts on one men's boat race at the Games.

"They have put all their eggs in one basket and if it doesn't come off for them it will look like a bad decision," he added.

"When I was kicked out, they accused me of not being a team player, but their decisions over the last year have not been particularly team-focused.

"Whenever my crews race, I want them to all do the very best that they can do and the team is a very important thing for me.

"We obviously have very different perspectives on what the definition of 'team' actually is."

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