Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Magnificent men in their row machines

Since the splendour of last Friday's Opening Ceremony at the London 2012 Olympics, the news for Team GB has been better and better, and the medals tally is now among the top few nations in the world.

There have been amazing feats of endurance, courage and skill, as well as wonderful human stories of triumph in the face of enormous challenges.

Great praise is due to all concerned - and to none more so than the three Coleraine oarsmen who have brought such credit to their native town and club, as well as to Team GB and the nation at large.

After years of the most demanding discipline, brothers Richard and Peter Chambers have brought back two silver medals, and yesterday Alan Campbell completed a trio of rowing distinction with his magnificent bronze.

The human cost was well-illustrated by the obvious exhaustion of all three at the end of the competitions. But the magnitude of their victory is illustrated by the fact that Coleraine, with a population of 24,000, currently has more Olympic medals than India, with a population of 1.21 billion, Indonesia with 237.6 million and Poland with 38.5 million.

The outstanding success of the Coleraine rowers has crossed all boundaries here, and the tributes from leading politicians from the main parties are a reflection of the feelings of all the people of Northern Ireland. The success story does not end here, and more medals may come from the cyclist Wendy Houvenaghel, or some of our talented Ulster boxers.

After the first week, the 2012 Games continue to set a hot pace for achievement and enjoyment, and the overall successes have left well behind the earlier problems of security and empty seats.

There is still much to look forward to in these Olympics, and with a little luck and great determination even more medals might be brought back to Northern Ireland. In the meantime, well done the lads from Coleraine!

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