Rowers Chambers and Campbell set new targets
It’s onwards and upwards for Coleraine’s Richard Chambers and Alan Campbell after their superb medal-winning performances at the World Rowing Championships in New Zealand.
Both men will only have a few weeks holiday before the winter training begins again with a big year to look forward to with Olympic qualification the goal.
Before that there’s the World Cup season culminating in the world championships in Bled, Slovenia in August, which will double up as the qualifying regatta for London.
“We’ve set the standard now that others have to come and meet,” explained Chambers.
“First of all we have to qualify the boat and we’ll do what we always do and that’s take it one race at a time from the first World Cup, to the second, to the third World Cup and then we’ll think about the world championships.
“That way we never get too far ahead of ourselves.”
The lightweight four final will live long in the memory as one of the most thrilling ever seen.
Chambers became a world champion for the second time as along with his team-mates — Paul Mattick, Rob Williams and Chris Bartley — they held on to strike gold in an incredible blanket finish beating Australia by just seven hundredths of a second with China another one hundredth of a second back in third.
Now their attention focuses to the even bigger prize available in 20 months time.
“London 2012 is the ultimate goal and this was a stepping stone towards that and it’s proved that the training is working,” he added.
“We’ll keep that going but we will push it on even further to make sure it’s as difficult as possible for anyone to come up and match our speed.”
Meanwhile, Campbell was involved in a titanic battle of his own in the final of the men’s single sculls as he medalled for the second world championships in a row, winning bronze behind winner Ondrej Synek of the Czech Republic and four-time previous champion and local favourite Mahe Drysdale.
“It’s a very short period of time before we get back on the treadmill,” explained Campbell.
“Qualification year is always a very important year as it gives us a ranking going into the Olympic Games. I want to make my mark in 2011 and you know, I think I have established myself.
“I wasn’t just a one hit wonder last year, winning the medal at the world championships and I think the other scullers, Mahe and Ondrej are worried — they see me as a threat.
“I don’t know why it is but I still feel like an underdog and I feel very fired up by that status.”
Peter Chambers, younger brother of Richard, underlined his potential by finishing sixth in the final of the lightweight single sculls.
At just 20-years-old, the world under-23 silver medalist from earlier this summer didn’t look out of his depth in his first senior championships.
The Olympic Games in 2012 may be too soon for him, especially as there is so much depth in lightweight rowing in the Great Britain team at the moment but he’s one to watch for the future as the incredible conveyor belt of world class rowers from Coleraine shows no signs of stopping.