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Bradford on Avon and Trowbridge men go for Olympic glory
Derek and Janice McKeever display the banner to cheer on son Ed, right, in his bid for an Olympic kayak medal and, left, Trowbridge sprinter Danny Talbot
Two Wiltshire families are hoping their sons can add to the glory of Team GB at the Olympics this weekend.
Today saw Bradford on Avon’s kayaker Ed McKeever race his way into tomorrow's final ofthe 200m K1, while Trowbridge sprinter Danny Talbot is expected to race in the 4x100m heats later today.
The “Trowbridge Tornado” should line up for Team GB in the relay heats, and mum Margaret, dad Richard and sister Michelle have their fingers crossed for the 21-year-old.
Mrs Talbot said: “It’s exciting but there’s also a pit in my stomach.”
She said that the family, 14 in total, including aunts and cousins, met with Danny at the athlete’s village on Tuesday, before watching athletics action at the Olympic stadium.
She added: “We saw Danny for five minutes, he’s very well, he’s loving the athlete’s village.
“He doesn’t want to leave, they do his washing and he never has to cook a meal – he’s a typical boy like that.
“He’s really loving the atmosphere there. He’s relaxed, but that’s just how Danny is, he’s very laidback.
“The atmosphere there was absolutely electric. It’s breathtaking when you get to the top of the stairs.
“Every time a Team GB athlete is announced you can’t hear yourself think. You think ‘that could be my son’, it’s wonderful.”
Messages of support for the former St Augustine’s pupil have been pouring in and his mum added: “The amount of support for him has been amazing, from family, his friends, old school friends, teachers, neighbours knocking on the door.”
Danny’s coach, Dan Cossins, from Hilperton, thinks the team could clinch a medal.
He said: “I really hope Danny gets a chance to to run in the heat and if they get through I think it’s unlikely they’ll change the team. I think his chances as things stand are quite high. Out of everyone in the team Danny has been the fastest of the squad in changeovers.
“Having seen the results in the 100m I think they do have a chance, possibly of a bronze.”
Bradford on Avon’s kayak king Ed McKeever started his quest for Olympic glory this morning, winning through in the men’s K1 200m heats and following up with a second win in the semi-finals at Eton Dorney to book his place in tomorrow morning's final at 9.30am.
Parents Derek and Janice have been at Eton Dorney all week soaking up the Olympic atmosphere and have been inundated with messages of support.
Mr McKeever is membership secretary at Bradford on Avon Rowing and Canoeing Club where Ed first developed his interest in the sport at 12.
He said: “It is amazing the amount of people who have come up to us at Eton Dorney passing on good luck messages. We’ve also received a lot of support from back home and the everyone at the club has signed a card for Edward.
“We haven’t spoke to him, but his fiancee Anya has, and she said he’s in good shape. We have this custom where we don’t tend to speak to him until after the event but we’ll send him a text and he knows we are here for him if he needs us.”
Ed, 28, a former St Laurence pupil, is the 2010 world and European champion and a multiple World Cup race winner, and a hot favourite for gold, but Mr McKeever said a medal of any colour would be fantastic.
He said: “We are getting a little twitchy now, but we are all so proud of him and if he could win the gold that would be very special. But any medal would be just great, and due reward for all his hard work.”