31 July 17:24 (BST)

Dutch rowing duo believe discipline key to medal success

GLASGOW - Dutch lightweight double sculls crew Ilse PAULIS and Marieke KEIJSER are convinced that discipline, hard work and fun have been the secrets behind building an immediately successful partnership.

The duo teamed up for the first time at the 2017 European Rowing Championships in Radice, Czech Republic, taking silver behind Poland. They then won gold at the first world cup of 2018 in Belgrade in May.

KEIJSER says the tough discipline of ballet dance, which she practised as a child, helped her succeed quickly in rowing.

"In ballet, everywhere in the room you have mirrors and a teacher tells you 'you're doing this wrong'," she said. "I don't think I had a ballet teacher telling me I was doing something good. When a coach tells you, 'OK, it was good', I just want to know how to do it better."

That discipline extends to life outside rowing. PAULIS turned 25 on 30 July, the day before flying to Glasgow, but birthday celebrations were muted.

"I didn't do much," she said. "I had really nice coffee with my sister."

KEIJSER admitted being nervous when she joined reigning Olympic champion PAULIS in the boat last year. The 21-year-old replaced Maaike HEAD (NED) who retired after the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

"Last year I felt the pressure because I didn't want to disappoint," KEIJSER said. "This year, Rio is a little bit further away and we had a winter together.

"We pressure ourselves a lot because we want to be the best, and we know how good rowing feels. That's more pressure than the pressure of a result."

PAULIS wants to recreate the feeling of being a winner in a major championship. She said: "If there's pressure from the outside world, it's because they mostly believe that we can do it.

"I know what I'm doing it for. I know how amazing that experience [winning Olympic gold] was, and I want to experience it again.

"We have fun, we like what we do."

PAULIS and KEIJSER will find out if their discipline has paid off at the Glasgow 2018 rowing competition, to be held at Strathclyde Country Park from 5-8 August.

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