Belfast Telegraph

Chambers in fine fettle as NI quartet eye medals

 

By Steven Beacom

Peter Chambers will aim to add to his bulging medal collection today after inspiring the Great Britain lightweight quadruple sculls crew into the final at the World Rowing Championships.

And he was not the only Northern Ireland star to reach a decider in Florida yesterday with Belfast's Rebecca Shorten and the GB Women's Eight also doing enough.

It means that all four Northern Ireland rowers, with Joel Cassells and Holly Nixon making up the quartet, will contest for medals over the next three days at the biggest regatta of the year.

First up today will be Coleraine's Cassells with partner Sam Scrimgeour in the men's lightweight pair.

Cassells and Scrimgeour won the World title in 2015, but with Irish duo Shane O'Driscoll and Mark O'Donovan looking like certainties to claim gold, any colour of medal will be considered a result for the GB team.

Then will come the turn of fellow Bannsider Chambers with team-mates Gavin Horsburgh, Zak Lee-Green and Ed Fisher.

This is the first senior regatta they have raced in together and it seems they are getting better every time they go out on the water.

In yesterday's semi-final they delivered a superb performance to cross the line first in a time of five minutes 57.19 seconds, just under two seconds quicker than Greece with Japan in third.

Japan and Greece led early on, but Chambers and co produced a strong finish to win by a length.

With a high quality French crew victorious in the other heat, with Italy and Switzerland also going through to the final, today's battle promises to be fascinating.

The new-look GB team may not have been striking fear into the hearts of other countries but after yesterday they are now among the favourites to make the podium.

For Chambers, such an outcome would represent quite the achievement. Early on this year the 2012 Olympic silver medallist thought he would have been racing with Will Fletcher in the lightweight men's double sculls at the World Championships only for injury to the Englishman ruling that out.

Previously a World and European champion, Chambers will relish another big final today.

Shorten and the GB Women's Eight crew will race on Sunday.

Needing to finish in the top four in yesterday's repêchage, they were third. To have any opportunity of a medal, however, improvements will have to be made.

Enniskillen's Nixon may have a better chance of glory in tomorrow's Women's quadruple sculls.

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