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We gave it our best shot but it wasn't good enough: Richard Chambers

By Ryan Walters

Published 12/08/2016

Double trouble: Ulsterman Richard Chambers and Will Fletcher just miss out in the lightweight double sculls semi-final in Rio yesterday
Double trouble: Ulsterman Richard Chambers and Will Fletcher just miss out in the lightweight double sculls semi-final in Rio yesterday

Sometimes everything you have just isn't enough, and Ulsterman Richard Chambers admits that held a lot of truth for Will Fletcher and himself after they failed to qualify for the double sculls final.

The Team GB pair could only finish fourth in their semi-final, a time of 6:38.76 minutes a full 4.33 seconds down on the first-placed French pair and not good enough to get them into the medal race.

A fifth-place finish at the World Championships in Poznan would have suggested they had an outside chance of a medal in Rio. But with other crews just delivering that much more, the Coleraine man admits there was little more he and Fletcher could have done.

"You definitely don't want to be finishing fourth in the semi-final," he said.

"You've got to be in the final to win medals and fourth in the semi-final just doesn't put you there.

"To be honest, it never really crossed our minds that we wouldn't make the final, it never really crossed our minds that we wouldn't win the event overall.

"We came here with one goal and one option, we've done everything we can in the last six or seven weeks since Poznan to put ourselves in a good place for this. We came in cracking shape.

"We were just beaten by crews who were faster than us and that's just it. We did a better job in the first 1000m than we did the other day in the heat and when it came to stepping on, we stepped on but just not as much as everyone else.

"It has been difficult this week but at the end of the day it's the same for everyone else, they've all been through the same thing.

"I don't think you can tell exactly where it started slipping away from us. Maybe in the last 100-150m, we were just pushing and pushing and I think we just rowed to an absolute standstill.

"We were just beaten by faster crews on the day, there were three crews in front of us - the French, the Americans were just faster than us so all credit to them," he added.

A positive start had the British duo lying third after 500m but France, the United States and Ireland - Cork brothers Gary and Paul O'Donovan - all pushed the pace on and Chambers and Fletcher simply couldn't match it and they go into the B final today.

Meanwhile, Katherine Grainger has become the most decorated female British athlete ever after securing a medal in a fifth straight Olympics by winning silver in the women's double sculls with Vicky Thornley.

On a stunning morning at the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, the 40-year-old wrote her name into the record books by winning a fifth medal to move ahead of swimmer Rebecca Adlington in the list of modern greats.

Grainger was only just unable to retain the gold won with Anna Watkins at London 2012, but securing silver with Thornley at the age of 40 is a remarkable feat.

"It's one of those races at the start of the regatta you'd have taken with both hands because we led most of the way," Grainger said.

"It was a little tinge of what might have been. Considering what we've been through the last couple of years, I'm so proud of what we've done. It's a medal that not many would have put money on so I'm pleased."

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