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Londoner Constantine Louloudis has 2012 Games ambition

The Xchanging Boat Race 2011
Start: Saturday, 26 March, 1700 BST Venue: River Thames, London
Coverage: Watch live on BBC One, BBC One HD and worldwide on the BBC Sport website from 1545 GMT; commentary on BBC Radio 5 live - full details

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Pinsent watches Boat Race 'beast' in fitness test

Oxford University rower Constantine Louloudis says he has not ruled out competing at the 2012 London Olympics, despite being only 19 years old.

He has to decide whether to take a year off from his studies to row at 2012.

And speaking to BBC London 94.9's "Towards 2012" he said he felt he had a strong chance of being part of Team GB.

"Karl Hudspith, another rower at Oxford, and I had a trial in the pairs, and were on the edge of the Olympic team," he said.

"We beat a few of the pairs who are in the current national squad, so it is all looking encouraging. I think we can step that performance up in the future, so I wouldn't rule out any Olympic ambition just yet."

Hudspith, Louloudis, Whitaker
Louloudis (centre) will row at six for Oxford on Saturday

The Londoner has been compared to four-time Olympic gold medallist Sir Matthew Pinsent, who also studied at Eton, and studied at and rowed for Oxford University before his Olympic success.

However, Louloudis is keen to play down talk of being the new Pinsent.

"Sir Matthew has won four gold medals at the Olympics. It's a long way off isn't it? I take each race as it comes and if I am lucky enough to compete in the Olympics then so much the better," he said.

"But just because I went to the same school and I am now at the same university, it is not a right of passage. I have still got to work at it and hope that the opportunities come my way."

As a first-year undergraduate he now has to make a decision about whether to take a year off from his studies to concentrate on rowing for Great Britain at his home Games.

"I haven't made that decision yet. I wouldn't rule it out at this stage," he added. "I would need to take one year out, and then return and resume my course.

"I have been told I can leave it (the decision) as late as I like. So if in August or September even I suddenly decide I want to take a year out, then at that stage I can ask permission and they will be fine with that."

The next challenge for Louloudis is being part of the Oxford crew on Saturday.

And Pinsent, who has watched him training, said: "Stan is a fantastic asset to have in a crew - he's going to be able to row harder for longer than most. I'm sure, should he want to, he can appear in four races for Oxford during his four-year course."

And although Pinsent feels that 2012 might come a bit too soon for the youngster he does give him some hope of competing: "In order to win a seat in the Olympic team he would have to convincingly beat athletes in their mid 20s, who have been practising for five years at a level he is just beginning to.

"If the Games were in 2014, he would probably be there. For London 2012, he's a possible."

BBC London 94.9's dedicated Olympic and Paralympic programme Towards 2012 will be broadcast on 27 March between 1700 BST and 1800 BST.



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see also
Oxford surge to Boat Race victory
26 Mar 11 |  Rowing


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