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Coleraine brothers in arms fired up to fight for gold

By Steven Beacom

Published 06/08/2016

Peter Chambers (right) competes in the Lightweight Men's Four
Peter Chambers (right) competes in the Lightweight Men's Four
Richard Chambers (right) rows with Will Fletcher in the Great Britain Men's Lightweight Double Sculls

Rowing. It is one of the most gruelling and demanding sports out there.

"When it is cold and wet you still go training, you are aching at times, your muscles hurt and you are struggling to get out of bed. You do hard training sessions and your body feels wrecked, you are tired, you are grumpy and you can get moody and then you have to do more training after that," stated Coleraine native and London 2012 bronze medal winner Alan Campbell in an interview with the Belfast Telegraph last month.

In preparation for the Olympic Games rowers clock up thousands of miles.

Adding to the agony, more often than not the medals are decided in inches.

Or centimetres in the case of the Chambers brothers, Richard and Peter from Northern Ireland.

Four years ago at Eton Dorney in a thrilling finale the siblings, competing for Team GB along with Chris Bartley and Rob Williams, were just a quarter of a second behind the victorious South African quartet in the lightweight fours discipline.

So near yet so far to gold for the Bannsider boys.

At least when they got over the pain of losing out on first place by such a short distance, there was a silver lining to collect on the podium in front of 30,000 adoring fans.

Fast forward to today and the Chambers brothers are hoping for more Olympic medals and would dearly love to upgrade to gold standard.

In Rio the pair will be in different boats.

While Campbell, in the single sculls opens proceedings on the Estadio da Lagoa for Team GB today (1pm our time), younger brother Peter, 26, will be the first member of the Chambers family to race in Brazil in the lightweight four alongside Bartley, Jono Clegg and Mark Aldred this afternoon.

Tomorrow Richard, 31, representing Team GB at his third Games, will be on the water along with Will Fletcher in the highly competitive lightweight double sculls.

The Chambers brothers are outstanding performers, have claimed world championship honours and are superb ambassadors for Northern Ireland never forgetting where they came from.

"It's a huge honour to represent your country at an event like the Olympics, which is the pinnacle of our sport," said Peter.

"We know the support we receive from back home will be brilliant and we want to try and do everyone proud again.

"There is so much work that goes on beforehand in terms of the hours of training and all the miles we do in the boat, but that is all worthwhile when you get to race at the Olympics."

He adds: "Our sport does come down to fine margins which is why you make so many sacrifices to try and achieve your goals.

"London 2012 was a great experience and to win a medal was fantastic.

"Our aim will be to be up there again."

Peter may be the youngest of the GB crew in the lightweight four but such is his standing in the group he is considered a hugely influential performer in his boat.

While focusing on the lightweight four, Peter will also be keeping an eye on how his brother is doing with the pair of them no longer racing together.

"That is the nature of our sport. Changes happen," said Chambers.

"It was great to be able to race with Richard in London. Now we are in different events and both of us will hope to do very well."

Elder brother Richard has his eye on making it to the top of the podium in Rio.

"It's amazing to have competed in one Olympics so I'm delighted that this is my third time at the Games," he said.

"Our aim is to win in Rio and all the preparation that we have gone through is in order to give ourselves the best possible chance of doing that."

In London the Chambers boys were roared on by all of their family.

In Rio mum Gillian, dad Eric and Peter's fiancee Liz will be there while Richard's wife Abigail and children Joshua and Alexandra will cheer from home. As you would expect Gillian is extremely proud of her boys.

"We are so proud of both Richard and Peter. They have done so well in their sport and to be competing in the Olympics again is wonderful. We wish them well," she said.

Imagine how the Chambers clan would feel if both won medals again. Better still, imagine if both Richard and Peter claimed gold.

Belfast Telegraph

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