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Last Updated: Friday, 6 April 2007, 06:44 GMT 07:44 UK
Cambridge cox seeking 2012 glory
By Andrew Douglas

Dowbiggin and rival cox Nicholas Brodie flank Cambridge rower Thorsten Englemann
The rival coxes flank Cambridge rower Thorsten Englemann
Cambridge cox Rebecca Dowbiggin believes victory in Saturday's Boat Race can launch her on the way to Olympic gold.

The 23-year-old economics post-graduate student has set her sights on winning gold at the 2012 Olympics in London.

"To get a gold medal at the London Olympics is definitely the ultimate plan, that would be perfect," Dowbiggin told BBC Sport.

"That's the ambition over the next few years - I'm going to work on that."

She added: "I've still got another year on my PHD, but after that the 2012 Games will become my focus."

Dowbiggin only found out she would be in the Cambridge boat less than two weeks ago.

She replaced Russell Glenn after showing better form than the American in the run-up to the race. Dowbiggin admits the promotion was a bit of a shock to her.

"It came as a big surprise to me, but obviously I was just excited and overwhelmingly happy at the decision," she said.

"Russ and I are good friends, so he congratulated me and said he thought I'd do a good job. There is no tension between us."

Dowbiggin is only Cambridge's seventh female cox in the last 22 years, yet she says this is not because of a lack of talent.

I'm confident we will win if we row our own race.

Cambridge cox Rebecca Dowbiggin

"The only reason there tend to be more male coxes is that there are more all-boy schools that row. So more male coxes arrive at university with experience."

And she insists it will not be intimidating to be in charge of an all-male team.

"The crew don't treat me any differently from a male cox," she says. "They see me in a little sister role. They're very protective of me, but that doesn't mean they hold back in the boat."

So what makes a good cox? Don't they just sit there and enjoy the ride?

Dowbiggin laughs at the suggestion and says: "Not at all, the cox is crucial.

"The most basic thing a cox does is keep the crew safe, so you're steering the boat and avoiding collisions.

"And then in terms of what you are saying to your crew, you must have confidence in your communication skills.

"You also need to be calm under pressure as you have so many things to keep an eye on during a race. And you need to be able to do all that without losing your head."

Dowbiggin is also confident she can steer favourites Cambridge clear of an upset in the 153rd Boat Race on Saturday.

"I don't think there will be an upset," she says. "I'm really confident we will win on Saturday if we row our own race. If we do that I think we will have little to worry about and I'm confident we will cross the line first."



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