By Mike Rowbottom

Jürgen Gröbler is targeting at least two British men's rowing golds at the Rio 2016 Olympics ©Getty ImagesFebruary 23 - Jürgen Gröbler, British Rowing's men's head coach at the last six Olympics, is seeking at least two golds at the Rio 2016 Games from the openweight crews for which he has special responsibility.

"I think we should look at medals in at least half of the six events," Gröbler told insidethegames.

"We should have expectations of having at least three medals of the best possible colour.

"We always start by looking to defend our gold, but we can look to win more than one gold in Rio.

"We did it in Barcelona in 1992, and in Sydney in 2000.

"Why not again?

"In 2008 we won gold, silver and bronze.

"There is increasing competition in world rowing.

"But I think this should be our target."

Gröbler, 67, has managed to maintain his gold standard for an extraordinarily long time.

When Andy Triggs Hodge, Pete Reed, Alex Gregory and Tom James won at London 2012 it was the fourth successive gold in the Olympic four for Britain's men.

His openweight men's crews added three bronzes to that.

fourswinnerslondon2012Britain's Olympic fours champions during the London 2012 victory parade, Peter Reed, Andy Triggs Hodge, Tom James and Alex Gregory ©Getty Images

It was also the tenth Olympic gold for crews under Gröbler's personal direction, a run which began during the 20 years he spent as a coach with the all-conquering East German team before taking up his current position with British rowing ahead of the Barcelona 1992 Games.

"I always think the other medals are looking a bit better if you have also top medals," he added.

"If you have a collection of non-winning medals it is not the same.

"It is important to have at least one gold medal."

Gröbler believes the new distribution of medals at last year's World Championships was a sign of the more widespread challenge his rowers and scullers will face in future.

"You can see some countries were making big preparations in 2013," he said.

"Sometimes people say the year after the Olympics, maybe people are a little bit asleep, and maybe losers train harder.

"But at these World Championships in 2013 there were really good performances and a lot of countries made a big, big jump.

"You can see now there is never a break.

"If you are not really sharp you will not win.

"With all these other nations coming out and challenging us, defending four British medals at the Rio Olympics will be difficult - a tough call.

"But of course we will be more than ready for the challenge."

He added that the performance of Britain's new eight in beating Germany's Olympic champions and earning a first world title at the discipline last year - with three of the four winning crew from London 2012 aboard - was hugely encouraging.

The winning crew of Daniel Ritchie, Tom Ransley, Alex Gregory, Pete Reed, Mohamed Sbihi, Andrew Triggs Hodge, George Nash, William Satch and Phelan Hill that earned Britain its first world title in the men's eight last summer ©Getty ImagesThe winning crew of Daniel Ritchie, Tom Ransley, Alex Gregory, Pete Reed, Mohamed Sbihi, Andrew Triggs Hodge, George Nash, William Satch and Phelan Hill that earned Britain its first world title in the men's eight last summer ©Getty Images

"Winning at the World Championships last year was very special," Gröbler said.

"Always you are looking towards Rio.

"But you can never be certain of what will happen in four years.

"Of course it is a big risk trying something new.

"Germany have done an outstanding job in the eight in the last few years.

"It was a big decision to make, but it was made possible because our Olympic champions from 2012 bought into the project.

"If you have guys like this saying 'We want to do it' it improves your chances of success.

"It will be tough to do it again at this year's World Championships, but teaching those young guys how to win big races strengthens the atmosphere within the team.

"I am looking forward to achieving things with these new guys.

"The next big goal is Rio.

"I still feel hungry, motivated always for the challenge of winning."

Read the full exclusive insidethegames interview with Gröbler here.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

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