Belfast Telegraph

Monday 20 October 2014

Chambers’ Olympic rowing hopes are far from lightweight

Richard Chambers is a picture of relaxation on dry land but when his attention switches to the water his only thought is of winning

World champions in 2007, Richard Chambers wants to complete the ultimate double with gold in Beijing.

The Coleraine man is part of the Great Britain lightweight four who are expected to be challenging for gold, even though this season has not seen them hit quite the heights since that World Championship triumph.

Along with James Clarke, Paul Mattick and James Lyndsey-Fynn who is from Meath, Chambers has been honing his body to perfection in search of Olympic glory under the watchful eye of coach Robin Williams.

“It was after the World Championships last year that I really started thinking about the Olympics, “ says Chambers.

“Although Olympic qualification was on my mind, I never really thought it would be me that eventually goes to the Olympics.

“The Olympics has always been a dream since I watched it on television from a very young age but never thought it would happen for me.

“Once I started rowing internationally I set my goals to the highest standard, which are the Olympics. But I always thought it would be London 2012. Beijing is a real bonus.

“Robin Williams is an ex-lightweight himself and he has been through it all before. He knows what emotions we go through and how tough life is as an athlete.

“The training is very demanding and you go through a lot of pain but I think I’m a bit sadistic because I love going right to the pain threshold, taking my body to the extremes. I know that if I train that hard then I can expect to do something good.”

Trying to relax and keep the tensions from boiling over within such a tight knit unit can be difficult at times, admits Chambers.

“We’re in a gold medal boat and you know there are people who want to take your place,” added Chambers, who got engaged to fiancee Abi at the end of June.

“Last year was a tough year because some of us were not getting on that well and we’re four different individuals so you are going to get that. We live together, eat so you have to work out how to get on with each other. But recently it’s been great and we’re focused on our goal.

“There is only so much you can do on training camp to relax. The easiest way to relax is to sleep which I do a lot of. I quite like war novels and action films but I’ll confess that on this camp I have watched the odd chick-flick.”

Just like his fellow Olympians Alan Campbell and Richard Archibald, Chambers learned the fundamentals at Coleraine Inst under the guidance of Bobby Platt MBE and while he clearly had talent the 23-year-old admits he was in for a shock when he headed to university at Oxford Brookes.

“You get there and you see just how much further you have to go,” he added. “I started off in the fifth eight and I just worked myself up through the levels.

“I was just very determined, I think I’m a natural fighter and I love that winning feeling.

“We may not have got the results we wanted this year but we have been trying out new things and come Beijing I’ve no doubt we’ll be ready.

“We’re going there with the intention of bringing home the gold medal. Everything has to come together - the mental, the physical and the technique and if we get it right we can win.”

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