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Rower on path for Olympic redemption

  • Rower on path for Olympic redemption

    Rising rower Josh Booth is on track to make amends for his London Games meltdown at the Rio Games.

The unwitting "villain" of Australian rowing's last Olympic campaign is in prime position to be the redemption story of the Rio Games.

Josh Booth, sent home from the London Olympics in disgrace four years ago, has been selected in the flagship men's four boat in a 20-strong team announced on Thursday.

The boat won silver in London and has been among the leading fours in the world this year, promising the crew of Booth, Josh Dunkley-Smith, Will Lockwood and Alex Hill will be a genuine medal contender next month.

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It caps a remarkable comeback for Booth who considered giving the sport away to focus on his medical degree after a forgettable Games debut as a member of the men's eight in London.

Just 21 at the time, the Melbourne oarsman was detained by police and taken to hospital after drowning his sorrows and damaging two shopfronts in the hours following the eight's loss in the final at Eton Dorney.

He was the first Australian Olympian sent home since Alex Watson was banned for taking caffeine at the Seoul Games in 1988.

But restitution to the businesses he damaged, an impassioned apology and his heart-felt remorse impressed officials who have kept Booth close to the sport since.

Lockwood and Dunkley-Smith remain from the four which finished a close second to Britain four years ago, ensuring another Ashes-style battle in a class that has been dominated by the two nations since 1992.

"Australia's history in the men's four absolutely inspires me, for male sweep oarsmen it's the boat that we all want to be in," Lockwood said.

"I am looking to take my leaning and experience from London and turn that silver into a gold."

The men's four are among a handful of eight Australian boats who head to Rio with realistic hopes of a medal.

World champion single sculler Kim Brennan leads the fleet as the gilt-edged favourite for a maiden gold in the smallest boat class.

The women's double and quad sculls, and the in-form men's quad boat are also strong contenders.

Veteran Tasmanian sculler Kerry Hore, 34, heads to her fourth Games looking for her first medal with the quad sculls.

Australian Olympic rowing squad: Rhys Grant, Alex Lloyd, Spencer Turrin, David Watts, Chris Morgan, Alex Hills, Josh Booth, Josh Dunkley-Smith, Will Lockwood, Alexander Belonogoff, Cameron Girdlestone, James McRae, Karsten Forsterling, Kim Brennan, Genevieve Horton, Sally Kehoe, Jennifer Cleary, Jess Hall, Kerry Hore, Maddy Edmunds.

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