Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Chambers' golden double

Adam Freeman-Pask (L) and Richard Chambers (R) of Great Britain celebrate winning the Men's Lightweight Double Sculls Final during day 3 of the 2013 Samsung World Cup at Sydney International Rowing Centre on March 24, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Richard Chambers produced an outstanding display to win gold with Great Britain team mate Adam Freeman-Pask in the men's lightweight double sculls at the World Cup regatta in Sydney.

What was particularly impressive was that the Olympic silver medallist was in a new boat and sculling, as opposed to sweep rowing.

Along with Freeman-Pask they led the field from start to finish, pulling away in the third quarter of the race to win in 6:26.05 from China in silver.

It wasn't the strongest field ever assembled with many nations not taking part in the regatta and others with reserve crews, but the manner in which the duo won showed they will be in the mix, if they stay together, when the World Cup season resumes at last year's Olympic venue of Eton Dorney at the end of June.

"It's good for us to have raced here," said Richard.

"Even though not everyone's here, and it will get tougher, we still beat the guys who were fifth at the Olympics today and that shows we are up there with some of the best."

This was Chambers first senior event as a sculler, although he did win a silver medal at the world under-23 championships in 2005 as part of the lightweight quadruple sculls and also the first time, in his own words: "I've been trusted in the stroke seat of a crew for an international race."

Whether Richard remains there or returns to the lightweight four will be determined over the next couple of months by a series of testing and final trials, but whatever happens he's enjoyed the experience.

"It's been a good trip, a fun experience," he added.

"It has been a challenge. I'm not the best sculler technically and I have a lot to change in order to make the boat go faster.

"It's always good to win no matter what event you are in."

As for the future: "I think it all depends on how trials results go," he said. "A lot can change and happen from here on in, we just have to wait and see."

Moments after receiving his medal, Richard watched younger brother Peter win silver as part of the lightweight four, an encouraging start to the new Olympic cycle.

Peter was part of a new-look quartet with the returning Chris Bartley and newcomers Jonno Clegg and Chris Boddy.

From the outset of the final it was clear that, at this early stage of the season and having trained during their summer, the New Zealand four were by far the quickest in what is usually tight racing.

In the final 500m, Great Britain were determined to hold off the Australians and they kept their pace to finish strongly in second place.

"We have come a long way since this crew was formed," said Peter "It is good to be back racing, it's a reminder of why we do all the training."

Olympic bronze medalist Alan Campbell missed the trip to Sydney but is expected back in the single sculls at Eton where the competition will be stronger before the final World Cup regatta in Lucerne which acts as a prelude to the world championships in August in Korea.

The GB Rowing team ended the weekend with a tally of four golds, a silver and two bronzes from 14 crews.

Performance director Sir David Tanner said, "It's been great to get some top-level racing so early in the year, especially as we start the Rio cycle. I am very pleased with our four gold medals – each of them special in their own way.

"Our objective here was to give a good outing to our returning Olympians and to blood a significant number of rowers new to the World Cup scene. We can go away with some good lessons learnt and look forward to the second World Cup at Eton Dorney on our home waters in June."

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