Rowing: Hamblett has sights set on 2012

A FORMER Sudbury Rowing Club member is dreaming of competing in London 2012 after winning two prestigious titles in the space of two weeks.

The whirlwind fortnight for Paul Hamblett, who left Suffolk to pursue his sporting dream at the start of the year, has seen his standing in the sport suddenly rocket.

After winning the lightweight single sculls at the National Championships of Great Britain in Strathclyde, the England selectors came knocking for last weekends Home Counties Regatta in Cork - and the 30-year-old duly delivered with another impressive victory in his event.

But Hamblett's feet have not been allowed to touch the ground, as he has been whisked off to France for a national training camp ahead of trials in October and December, which will make-or-break his Olympic dream.

And with this week marking exactly two years to London 2012, Sudbury Rowing Club Coach Antony Moule is backing Hamblett, whose family still live in the town, to carry Sudbury hopes onto the world's biggest sporting stage.

"The progress he has made in the last six months shows he has the potential to be a candidate," he said.

"He has that self belief now and I think he stands quite a good chance.

"Over the last two years he has moved from one level to another."

A broken metatarsal bone in his foot in December had threatened to derail his hopes as he joined Henley Rowing Club, but it proved a blessing in disguise as Hamblett battled back to fitness alone in the lightweight skulls event. He had previously hoped to be part of the crew boats, but his injury setback meant he had been too late to be selected.

Since then Hamblett, who had previously lived in the Sudbury area all his life, has focused all his energy on the individual event, culminating in the two titles.

Moule, who used to pair with Hamblett, said of the last fortnight: "It is a great achievement.

"He did trials last year and broke his foot. He was out training in December and fell in a pot hole and broke a metatarsal, which put him back six weeks. He recovered quickly and I think sometimes your will to recover is as important as your ability to recover itself.

"It inspired him to push harder."