Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

I’m going to go for gold in Rio: Campbell

OLympic bronze medalist Alan Campbell has announced he will continue on to the Rio Games in 2016.

It’s 13 weeks since the Coleraine rower battled his way to a thrilling third place in the single sculls final at Eton Dorney and then captured the hearts of millions as the tears flowed on the podium.

Afterwards he explained that it was the emotion of seeing his wife Juliet and parents Jenny and William in the stands that meant so much and it’s with their support and blessing that he’s made the decision to go for gold in four years time.

“I think whether or not they were prepared for me to be as selfish as I have been played a major part in the decision, especially Juliet in terms of the huge amount of sacrifice and commitment on her behalf,” explained Campbell.

“They are the most important people to me and I wanted to make sure this was something they could get behind again because no athlete can really do it on their own and I realised more than ever that I needed their support this year and it did make a massive difference in London and I needed them to be on board.

“It was talking about whether they could deal with me being a prima donna, my massive ego and whether they could keep pepping me up all the time and deal with my mood swings and everything else because there is a huge mental side to sport as well and it can take its toll, not only on me but those around me.”

Since London 2012 Campbell has shared his experiences and medal with everyone he’s met from schoolchildren in Coleraine to sponsors in London and he’s been enjoying a rest, away from the tortuous training regime he put himself through in order to win an Olympic medal.

After three Olympics it would have been easy to move away from the sport but recently Campbell has been back in a boat, training by himself at his club —Tideway Scullers — in London.

It’s still early stages in the four-year cycle and there are many big decisions ahead and Campbell is keen to stress that he’s enjoying a rest and although he will take part in the GB winter assessment trials later this month he won’t be anywhere close to being fully fit.

The world cup season starts earlier in March with a regatta in Australia before a gap to June when the second event takes place at Eton Dorney and that is a more likely target for Campbell who would then build up to the world championships in Korea at the end of August.

His decision means he joins fellow Olympic medalists Richard and Peter Chambers in declaring their intentions to continue on to Brazil, a huge boost for rowing and Northern Ireland sport in general.

Rio is a long way off but Campbell is clear about what he wants to achieve.

“I’m 29 years old and the second youngest guy in the Olympic final this year,” he added.

“It’s not a young man’s sport and going forward 33 isn’t old but the major driving force is to win a gold. I won a bronze but I trained for a gold and that’s what I wanted.

“I still feel capable of doing that and that’s why I want to go forward. I want to win a gold at all costs.”

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