Chambers makes a big splash with gold in World Cup
Northern Ireland's Peter Chambers won gold at the first rowing World Cup event of the season as compatriots Joel Cassells and Holly Nixon claimed bronze medals at the same regatta.
Coleraine native Chambers was delighted to finish first for Team GB & NI alongside Will Fletcher in yesterday's lightweight double sculls final in Belgrade.
While some of rowing's top nations did not compete, the performance and victory put down a marker for the rest of the year in which the World Championships will be the highlight.
The 2020 Olympics may be three years away, but with the double sculls being the only lightweight category in the Tokyo Games it was important for Chambers and Fletcher to begin this Olympic cycle in impressive fashion.
They did just that, leading from start to finish, with Chambers remarking that he and his partner had produced 'excellent racing' in the rain in the Serbian capital.
"It was awesome winning gold with Peter," stated Fletcher, who following his race was delighted to hear that his favourite football team Newcastle United had won the Championship title.
Fletcher had previously raced with Peter's elder brother Richard at last year's Olympics.
While the younger Chambers and Fletcher enjoyed their victory, Ireland's Paul and Gary O'Donovan, who won silver medals in Rio, had to settle for fourth position.
Another Coleraine man, Cassells, said there was 'plenty to build on' after finishing third alongside Sam Scrimgeour in the lightweight men's pair.
The Team GB duo made a strong start but eventually ended up with bronze as Ireland's Shane O'Driscoll and Mark O'Donovan surged to a fine victory.
Enniskillen lady Nixon was in the Team GB women's quadruple sculls crew which finished in third place behind Poland and Holland.
The World Championships in Sarasota-Bradenton, USA, take place between September 24 and October 1.
It is the biggest regatta in 2017, though there will also be much interest in the European Championships in the Czech Republic later this month.
Chambers, Cassells and Nixon can all expect to be competing for Team GB on May 26-28.
Apart from Chambers and Fletcher, Team GB won three other gold medals at the World Cup in Belgrade with Callum McBrierty, Matthew Tarrant, Mohamed Sbihi and William Satch victorious in the men's four, Jacob Dawson and Matthew Rossiter claiming the men's pair title and Karen Bennett and Holly Norton triumphing in the women's pair.
Over the next two months, there will be further World Cup regattas in Poland and Switzerland.