Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

Richard Chambers goes double as brothers are split

Olympic medallists Richard and Peter Chambers hoping to go one better in this year's World Championships
Olympic medallists Richard and Peter Chambers hoping to go one better in this year's World Championships

Coleraine duo Richard and Peter Chambers will be in different boats when the first World Cup regatta of the rowing season takes place in Sydney later this month.

The move is all part of Team GB's plan to freshen things up and experiment with different combinations in order to get the best out of their rowers ahead of August's World Championships in South Korea.

Even at this early stage coaches and rowers will have the 2016 Olympics in Rio in their minds.

Last year, the Chambers brothers became household names when they won a silver medal together as part of the Team GB lightweight four at the London Olympics.

And, while they have been split up for the trip to Australia, there is a chance they will be re-united later in the season and certainly further down the line.

Both brothers have said they would like to row alongside one another again in Rio – though in what discipline remains to be seen.

There are three World Cup regattas this year starting Down Under from March 22-24. The second World Cup event in June will see the successful British rowing team return to Olympic venue Eton Dorney where they won four gold medals, two silver medals and three bronze securing £32.6 million in funding from UK Sport for the four-year cycle to Rio.

In Australia, the elder of the Chambers siblings, Richard, will race in the double scull with Adam Freeman-Pask while Peter remains in the lightweight four with Chris Bartley, Chris Boddy and Jono Clegg beside him.

Fellow Coleraine man Alan Campbell, who won a bronze in the single sculls at the 2012 Games, is not included in the GB team for Sydney but remains very much part of the plans going forward.

All three of Northern Ireland's Olympic rowing heroes were in action recently at the GB trials with Richard Chambers winning the lightweight men's singles and brother Peter 'slightly disappointed' finishing in fourth. Campbell was victorious in the heavyweight men's event – both races taking place over 5km, which is two and a half times the Olympic distance.

Speaking after his success Richard outlined his short term and long term goals, which on the basis of the selection for Sydney, are going according to plan.

"I've raced in two Olympics in the four, so I'd like a change and do the double this year. Longer term though I'd like to be back in the four as there's unfinished business," he said with a clear reference to the boat he'd like to be in come Rio 2016.

You get the feeling that Peter will be there with him.

They were inches away from a gold last year in one of the most dramatic finishes of the entire Games and have made no secret of their desire to go one better in three years' time.

Campbell, too, has Rio in his thoughts, and at the age of 33 in Brazil he will be in the prime of his single sculls life and ready to go for gold.

Ahead of the team flying out to Sydney, GB performance director David Tanner said: "It will be a good challenge for the team. The World Cups will be competitive but they are stepping stones to the World Championships for us. That is our main focus."

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