Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

Brothers opt for 'different seats'

From right, Peter Chambers, Rob Williams, Richard Chambers and Chris Bartley won silver in the men's lightweight four rowing final (AP)

Early in his rowing career, Peter Chambers made a decision that would mean he and his fellow silver medal-winning older brother would never be up against each other for the same spot in a boat.

The youngest of the Chambers family had grown up in Northern Ireland watching the success of big brother Richard and wanted to taste it himself.

As Richard rowed in a "stroke" side seat, Peter opted for a "bow" side berth.

Their mother Gillian revealed that her youngest son only told her his rationale years later.

"Fortunately they sit in different seats," she said. "Peter is bow side and Richard is stroke side, so they have never been in direct competition for each other's seats"

"That has definitely helped. That was a conscious decision on Peter's part. It's something I did not realise for a couple of years, then Peter told me he had deliberately made that decision."

The brothers and crew mates Rob Williams and Chris Bartley had to settle for silver after being pipped to the ultimate prize by South Africa.

Their classroom assistant mum insisted there was no room for fraternal favouritism when it came to the unforgiving challenge of securing one of the most keenly competed crew places in Team GB.

"I think when it comes to sport they are both very single minded," she said. "They both approach things as individuals, even though they have come together in one boat. They both have always said: 'It's the best person for the boat, whether it's my brother or not - the best person should be in the boat'."

The Chambers brothers grew up in Coleraine on Ireland's north coast on the banks of the River Bann. After school, they both set off for England and undergraduate studies at Oxford Brookes University, which has a development centre for elite British rowers.

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