SETH O’CONNOR believes learning from Tokyo hopeful Jamie Copus can help him emulate his hero Tom George and fulfil his Olympic dream.

The Lacey Green rowing ace trains at the prestigious Henley Rowing Club under the auspices of Copus, a lightweight double sculler targeting a spot in the Team GB boat in Tokyo.

And O’Connor’s rowing role model is GB ace Tom George, who hit the headlines in the summer for breaking the GB Rowing Team 2km indoor record in his parents’ garage.

The former RGS High Wycombe student is yet to meet George but with under 200 days to go until the rescheduled Tokyo Games, reckons working with rowing obsessive Copus, 27, is steering him in the right direction.

The 18-year-old, who is financially supported by a three-year partnership between Entain, owner of Ladbrokes and Coral, and SportsAid, said: “We are literally learning from the best.

“I don’t know anyone who knows more about rowing than him. He has the biggest passion for the sport and he’s a huge inspiration to all of us.

“Having him is a huge advantage and he’s been a massive help. He’s quite young so can relate to all of us – he still understands what it’s like being a young adult and training twice a day with other commitments.

“And his knowledge is second to none. He’s phenomenal with all the details and knows how to make a boat tick.

“He’s got to qualify [for the Olympics] but I’m pretty certain he will. It will be crazy to watch him and we’ll all be up watching the races that he’s in, for sure.

“And Tom is a big inspiration for me. Hopefully I can get as close to being like him in terms of rowing as possible. But I’ve got a fair way to go yet!

“He’s a phenomenal athlete and to be able to emulate him, or even get close to him, would be huge.”

Entain’s partnership with SportsAid – set up in 2019 and supported by Paralympian Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson – is steering O’Connor towards stardom as he prepares to embark on a scholarship at Princeton University in August.

The investment promotes grassroots sport and the funding provided for training, travel, equipment and mentoring is fuelling O’Connor’s pursuit of adding to Princeton’s 34 rowing Olympians.

The Buckinghamshire star will be watching this summer’s Olympics closely after he finished 13th on the same Tokyo course in the single sculls at the 2019 Junior World Championships.

Hungry O’Connor hopes Team GB can go even better and, as he follows in the footsteps of former SportsAid-supported athlete Copus, added: “This particular Olympics is going to be really special for me because the Junior World Championships were on the Tokyo course.

“I’m really looking forward to watching Jamie race there and seeing how GB do.

“Rowing isn’t like football where there’s a World Cup or World Championships that are really important. Everyone knows it’s all about the Olympics.

“It would mean everything [to get to the Games]. Every young rower dreams of racing at the Olympics.”

Entain, owner of Ladbrokes and Coral, is proud to be championing the next generation of British sporting heroes by providing talented young athletes with financial support and personal development opportunities in partnership with SportsAid. As part of this three-year partnership, Entain are supporting a diverse group 50 of UK athletes per year from a variety of spots and para-sports. Visit to find out more