FEATURE: Didcot duo seek to build on the highs of Glasgow

Ben Watson (left) and Dan Rivers

Ben Watson (left) and Dan Rivers

First published in Sport Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Sports reporter specialising in Rugby, Cricket and Athletics. Call me on 01865 425456

DAN Rivers and Ben Watson hope their Commonwealth Games success will be the shape of things to come.

Rivers won gold and bronze medals in rifle shooting at Glasgow 2014, with fellow Didcot resident Watson taking bronze in weightlifting.

The former next competes at the World Championships in Granada, Spain, where the action begins on Monday, September 8, while the latter is now recovering from injury.

But for both, the Commonwealths proved a real confidence boost for their careers ahead.

Rivers, 23, said: “It proves that I can do it.

“I have won before and got medals before, but when you win on a stage like that with so many people watching, it’s mental really.

“When they say you are Commonwealth champion, it’s ridiculous.”

Watson, 24, said: “I found it ridiculous when they said you are a bronze medallist, so I can’t imagine how it feels to win gold!”

He added: “First and foremost for me is the feeling that I can do it.

“I have got the capability to go to the next Commonwealth Games and challenge again.

“The weightlifting set up was unbelievable. I really enjoyed it.

“For the future, I have got that to take confidence from.”

Weightlifting’s world championships are in November, but Watson will miss them to recuperate from the stress fracture to his right shin he had to battle with in Glasgow.

He said: “I am probably not going to compete again this year, but I don’t feel I need to.”

Looking further ahead, Rivers has his eyes on the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, while getting there will prove tougher for his friend Watson.

Rivers said: “My two-year goal is to get to Rio. In the meantime I have got a dozen hoops to jump through before that.

“Next year there are four World Cups and Small Bore European Championships.

“We are hoping to get some more funding because the medal target for England in shooting was ten and we got 15.”

Watson faces the difficulty that British men’s weightlifting is not funded by UK Sport – only the women’s team get full financial support.

“You need to send a big team to the World and European Championships to get people qualified for the Olympics and that is tough without funding,” explained Watson.

“It won’t just be down to my efforts to make it, so I think the next Commonwealth Games is the realistic target.”

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