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Bristol's Rattigan targets 2012

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Rattigan harbours 2012 dream

London 2012 is a far cry from the Bristol Olympic club in Staple Hill where Great Britain wrestler Leon Rattigan started out.

While being utterly single-minded about achieving his ultimate ambition of winning gold at the Olympics, the 22-year-old is quick to praise those that have helped him get this far.

"When I was 11-years-old the late Amir Esmaeli was my coach and he trained me for eight years which is why I'm so strong," he told BBC Points West.

"We had some excellent training sessions and he knew exactly what he was doing."

Rattigan was training just three times a week in Bristol and knew that if he was really going to compete on the world stage he would have to move.

So three years ago he relocated to Manchester where he trains full-time with the GB Team.

My peak should be 25 which is when London falls right on. It's hard to even put into words what it would mean

Leon Rattigan

The boy from Barton Hill, who competes in the 96kg division, has picked up medals on the European circuit this year with third-place finishes in Poland and Spain.

He came seventh in the European Championships in April and 11th in the World Championships last month but is setting his sights much higher for the Commonwealth Games in 2010.

"I've got India and Canada as my two main opponents next year and I know I'm on a level with them," he said.

"Anything can happen in wrestling and I know on my day I can take home the gold medal but I expect to come away with at least a bronze."

But the ultimate prize for Rattigan is the opportunity to win a medal in three years time.

"I missed out on Beijing last year by one place so, on paper, I should be at London 2012 competing," he said.

"My peak should be 25 which is when London falls right on. It's hard to even put into words what it would mean.

"It would mean so much for me especially for all the people that have put time and effort into me.

"All the hours I've put in, the social life I've missed out on, not going to clubs and not drinking.

"It would all pay off for me to win a medal at London 2012."



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GB wrestlers come fifth at Worlds
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