Selection dilemma for Great Britain's heavyweight men's four

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Rowing team compete for 2012 places

Six doesn't go into four, whichever way you try to force it - but that's the challenge facing Great Britain men's chief rowing coach Jurgen Grobler.

Britain qualified boats in 13 of the 14 Olympic classes in last September's World Championships and now Grobler, together with women's chief coach Paul Thompson, has the unenviable task of choosing who will sit in those boats come London.

And arguably Grobler's toughest decision lies in the make-up of the men's four, where six rowers are vying for seats.

The quartet of Tom James, Alex Gregory, Ric Egington and Matt Langridge produced a faultless performance in Slovenia to win world gold in the men's four and remain unbeaten in 2011.

But Pete Reed and Andy Hodge, who were part of the men's four that won gold in Beijing, present Grobler with a dilemma.

Since moving boats three years ago to compete as a pair, Hodge and Reed have won three world silver medals, but they have also lost 14 consecutive races to the brilliant New Zealand pair of Hamish Bond and Eric Murray.

Moving Reed and Hodge to the men's four could well enhance Britain's chances of securing gold in that event, but would mean two world champions getting pushed out - possibly into the men's eight - as a result.

"I don't want to give myself a choice about which boat I'm going to be in on purpose because I don't want to be disappointed when I'm sitting on the start line," Reed told BBC Sport.

"I just want to be thinking about my race and what's coming up and then putting in my fastest performance.

"There have been discussions [about selection], but among the athletes. Andy [Hodge] and I are very close. We've been together for a long time racing in boats together.

"It's only natural for us to talk about what our expectations are especially after winning gold in Beijing and three years of silver medals in the pair.

"Right now, we've decided to concentrate on making ourselves as good as possible because whichever boat we're in, we need to make it as fast as possible and really chuck ourselves into that project with both feet."

Egington, who was part of the men's eight which won silver in Beijing and moved across to the men's four after the games as part of Grobler's shake up of the team, is one of the four who could get left out.

"I'm just getting on with training," he told BBC Sport. "The best chance of winning the gold medal is to be as good as I can. Whether it's the four, the eight or tiddlywinks, I don't really care."

His team-mate Langridge, who won silver alongside Egington in Beijing, was more forthright in his hopes for London.

"[I want to be in] the four," Langridge told BBC Sport. "I did the eight in Beijing and was disappointed to not win gold, but I think I've set my sights on being in the four in London. That's my priority.

"I've been with the four for the last three years. I've really felt like I've been part of building that project going into London and I want to see it right through until the end.

"However, the eight is a great boat as well and although the four is the boat I'm aiming for, if I end up in the eight, I'd really relish the challenge. Getting silver in Beijing was disappointing so it would be nice to put that right in London.

"We have lots of boats who have medalled over last few years and there are four or five boats who could win a gold medal.

"It gives you confidence that if you don't end up in the boat you want to be in, there's an opportunity to still be in a great boat and go and win a gold medal."

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