Rio 2016 Olympics: Rower Graeme Thomas out of Games with illness

Graeme Thomas (right)
Graeme Thomas (right) has been a key member of Britain's men's quadruple scull team in recent years
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Team GB's two-time World Championships medallist Graeme Thomas has been ruled out of the Olympics with illness.

The Welshman has been replaced in the squad by 22-year-old Olympic debutant Jack Beaumont, who has flown to Rio.

Thomas, 27, has been suffering with a flu-like virus, which he is understood to have caught before his arrival in Brazil last weekend.

He has been withdrawn on medical advice with his event, the men's quadruple scull, due to start on Saturday.

It means the Welsh contingent at the Games is now down to 23 athletes across 11 sports.

Thomas said: "Seven years of dedication and it's all over before getting to take a stroke in anger.

"I don't agree with the decision, but I don't think anyone in my shoes would. As an athlete, you always back yourself.

"I wish my friends and crew all the best in their Olympic regatta. I still believe they can do it without me."

Jack Beaumont (right)
Jack Beaumont (right) raced with Britain's men's quadruple scull team to World Cup silver in Lucerne in May

Thomas was a 2014 World and European Championships runner-up, while he was also a 2013 World Championships bronze medallist.

Englishman Beaumont will now follow in the footsteps of his father, Peter, who raced at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul.

Sir David Tanner, team leader for rowing for Team GB, said: "Whilst we welcome Jack into the team and we know that he is a quality substitute with a proven medal record, it is nonetheless a decision that we have taken with a heavy heart because Graeme has worked so hard to be here and has been such a strong part of the crew."

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