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Newbury brothers Matt and George still eyeing Olympics joy in Tokyo

Rossiters have Olympic plans put on hold for a year after coronavirus pandemic

Liam Headd

Liam Headd


01635 886629

Newbury brothers Matt and George still eyeing Olympics joy in Tokyo

FOR British athletes, the news of the postponement of the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games as a result of the coronavirus pandemic was hugely disappointing.

The amount of training and preparation they put in for their event – both physically and mentally – is enormous.

It’s no different for Newbury brothers Matt, 30, and George Rossiter, 28, who were both selected to represent Great Britain in rowing events in Tokyo this summer.

George, who was named in the pairs squad, said: “Although it’s disappointing, everyone knew the severity of it all and nobody was getting ahead of themselves or too excited.

“It puts us in a situation where another year has been added on to the cycle.”

Meanwhile Matt, who made it into the fours team, admitted that it happened very quickly.

He said: “We got selected on the Saturday, the training centre then got shut and on the Tuesday the Games were cancelled.

“I thought we needed to keep the training steady to almost grieve the disappointment before aiming to move on.

“It was obviously very disappointing, but if I am honest I hadn’t looked that far ahead because there are far more important things going on in the world than the Olympics happening.”

The two brothers, who train in Caversham, moved back to their parents’ house in Donnington where they have been training.

“It a strange situation to be in,” said Matt. “We have had some good leadership from our coaches and they’ve set training plans,  which are hard work.

“We’re training for an event which is 14 months away and now we’re on the rowing machines in our parents’ back garden.

“A lot of our teammates are on their own so I am grateful I have George to train with, but most of the sessions we do are steady.”

However, with the pair not being able to access their training facilities, they sometimes struggle to find motivation to train while being at home.

“Everyone can stay motivated, but you need some kind of guidance and direction and it’s important to set short-term goals than focus on the big picture [Olympics] because it’s far away,” said George.

Matt added: “Motivation comes and goes because part of me thinks that the Games are so far away so what’s the point, but then I like staying fit where I can go running or cycling and that’s great because we don’t often get to do that with our regular training programme.

“However, some sessions are hard and to motivate yourself is difficult, but we’re fortunate we have  space to train outside.”

The duo receive training plans every two weeks to give them an idea of what their coaches expect from them.

“We get the programme two-weeks at a time and that’s good for the coaches because nobody knows when we’ll be back training as a group,” admitted George.

Matt said it’s been a strange season because of the uncertainty surrounding the Olympics.

He said: “Our season works in a repetitive format because we would start in September, when we would do internal testing until now, and then we’d fly around Europe competing in international races.

“It’s bizarre because for the last few years we have been battling our teammates in order to be selected and the last few months have been intense.

“You don’t really think about the Olympics, you’re more focussed about getting your bum on the seat to go.”

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