By Mike Rowbottom

Katherine Grainger celebrates gold at the London 2012 Games ©Getty ImagesKatherine Grainger, Britain's most successful female Olympic rower, is set to race competitively in the UK later this month for the first time since winning London 2012 gold.

The Glasgow-born rower, who will celebrate her 39th birthday next Wednesday (November 12), takes the next steps on a potential journey to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games at the GB Rowing Team Assessment in Boston, Lincolnshire over the weekend of November 15 and 16.

Grainger, who took two years off after winning Olympic gold in the double sculls with Anna Watkins, announced her comeback in September to meet  a deadline set by British team officials for rowers wishing to be considered for the next Olympics.

Before striking gold on the Eton Dorney Course at London 2012, Grainger won three successive Olympic silver medals, and has also earned six world titles in an international career which began in the 1990s.

On October 18, Grainger offered evidence that her fitness levels are moving in the right direction as she was part of an eight involving former team-mates from previous Olympics which won the Women's Senior Masters Eights at the prestigious Head of The Charles Regatta in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Katherine Grainger finally won an Olympic gold medal at London 2012 and is now set to launch her comeback for Rio 2016 ©Getty ImagesKatherine Grainger finally won an Olympic gold medal at London 2012 and is now set to launch her comeback for Rio 2016 ©Getty Images

At the forthcoming team assessment she will race against the clock on a rowing machine on the Saturday, train on the water that afternoon and race a five kilometres time trial on the Sunday.

Commenting on her return to the sport, Grainger said: "People who are very happy and content [in their retirement] say, 'I love watching the sport, I don't want to do it again - I don't want to go back to the training regime or to the stress and nerves of competitions', whereas I was watching it thinking 'I can do that. I should be doing that. I like doing that!'".

Grainger, now living in Maidenhead, is also fully aware of the challenges ahead: "When I made the decision, I obviously had Rio in mind - I wouldn't come back just to do this as a 'job'.

"I came back feeling that if it all went right the Rio[2016] Olympics was always the goal.

​"We've got some fantastic experts working all the way across British sport and I feel in very, very safe hands.

"All of the staff so far have been really positive.

They have said, 'Yes, you need to be sensible and of course as you do get older, recovery is more important than ever before but other than that there's no reason why you shouldn't be hitting the peaks you have hit before".

​Paul Thompson, the GB Rowing team's chief coach for women and lightweights said: "Katherine has been training hard and well since her return, this will be a good test for her to measure her progress and complete the first part of the selection process for the 2015 season".

As all rowers who competed in the 2014 World Championships are exempt, Grainger's opposition will come largely from a strong contingent of GB Rowing team under-23s including former World Junior champion and world under-23 finalist, Jess Leyden.

Melanie Wilson, who competed for GB at the Olympic Games and won the double scull at the recent British Rowing Championships in Nottingham, is also on the list of contenders.

Her focus last year was on her medical studies.

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September 2014: Mike Rowbottom: Grainger's bold return to rowing - "Who wins dares"
September 2014Grainger eyes Olympic rowing comeback with return to British squad - and a trip to Rio
August 2014: Grainger and Watkins take gold for Britain in women's double sculls