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Rowing: Reigning Olympic champion Tom James takes a step closer to London Games by securing seat

WITH 99 days to go until the London Olympics, Tom James has been given the clearest hint yet he will be competing in Great Britain’s flagship boat at this summer’s Games.

The Beijing Olympic gold medalist, from Coedpoeth, will row in the fours – the boat which four years ago he helped drive to the top of the podium – at next month’s World Cup opener after his rival for the final spot, Alex Partridge, pulled out of the running.

The team for the three-race World Cup series, which begins in Belgrade on May 4, is the strongest indicator of who will line up for Team GB at London 2012.

Former King’s School Chester student James, 28, is not only the reigning Olympic fours champion but also holds the World fours crown.

But he was made to sweat on his seat in the boat until it emerged this week that Partridge has decided to concentrate on a winning an Olympic place in the eights.

James said: “I’m looking forward to being in the four in Belgrade. After a long and sometimes difficult winter of training, it will be good to get racing.”

Holt rower Vicky Thornley will compete in the women’s quadruple scull boat at the World Cup event.

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