Rowing: Big finish brings bronze for Chambers brothers
Coleraine brothers Richard and Peter Chambers alongside Great Britain team-mates Mark Aldred and Chris Bartley took the bronze medal in the men's lightweight four final at the World Rowing Championships in Amsterdam.
The quartet were involved in a tremendous three-way battle with defending champions Denmark and New Zealand from start to finish but then had to hold off a powerful sprint from France in the final 500m in order to make sure they maintained their place on the podium.
"I said to the guys that it's better to have tried and failed than to not have tried at all and we knew after the semi-final that we would have to grab the race by the throat and really go for it and we came unstuck in the last 250 metres but I'd rather have that than to have played it safe," explained Richard afterwards.
"We talked with Olympic champion James Cracknell a few weeks ago at our training camp and he was saying that second place is the same as sixth and that's what we kept telling each other. We wanted to win, we went for the win and we came away with a bronze so it's disappointing but we can hold our heads high."
It was nip and tuck all the way down the 2000-metre course with the Danes edging in front over the first quarter; only to be overtaken by New Zealand but with 500 metres remaining there was less than a second between the three boats.
It was the Danes who proved to be the strongest and they raised their stroke rate to 42 and pulled away from the Kiwis with Great Britain maintaining third but the fast finishing French gave cause for concern and on the line there was only three-tenths of a second between GB and missing out on the medals completely.
Peter Chambers added, "I wasn't really thinking about the French, all I was thinking about was the win and it came apart a bit in the last 500 metres but we were good enough to hang on in the end to what we had, I'm pleased with the way it went and the way we went about it. We could have come third after playing it safe but we went for the win and bronze is what we got."
The three crews have dominated the 2014 season and halfway through the Rio Olympic cycle the Great Britain boat look in good shape.
The Chambers brothers and Bartley remain from London 2012 when they took the Olympic silver with Aldred the newcomer this year and with silver in the European Championships, two bronze in the world cups and this third place, its been a good season with plenty to work on.
"Last year Richard and Peter took a year out from the four and this has been a process of rebuilding and trying to make this four as good as it can be and that's the best we could have done and there's a couple more years to get it right," said Bartley.
Enniskillen's Leonora Kennedy and her partner Lisa Dilleen finished second for Ireland in the 'B' final of the women's pair and were ranked seventh overall in their first full season rowing together.
Among their goals for 2015 will be a top 11 finish at next year's World Championships in France that would secure Olympic qualification.
Meanwhile Ireland's Sanita Puspure finished fourth in the women's single sculls final narrowly missing out on bronze as she just failed to catch China on the line.