Belfast Telegraph

Rowing: Peter turns oar to Gold

By Nigel Ringland

Coleraine’s Peter Chambers completed a fairytale season by claiming his first senior world title at the spectacular venue of Lake Bled in Slovenia yesterday.

The 21 year-old, along with Kieren Emery, rowed to gold in the final of the men’s lightweight pair giving Great Britain a first medal of the championships.

The duo were put under early pressure by New Zealand and then Germany and were third at the halfway point over three seconds down.

They then put in a strong surge in the third quarter and with 500m remaining had taken the lead, holding on to win in a time of 6:27.59 ahead of Italy with Germany third.

“I think we knew we’d won it with 500m to go. We knew the strong part of our race was our sprint so all we had to do was control the race because no one was going to come past us approaching the finish,” explained an ecstatic Chambers.

This season Chambers has really announced himself on the world stage.

In July he substituted for the injured Chris Bartley in the lightweight four at the Lucerne World Cup regatta and helped the quartet, including older brother Richard, win gold.

Just a fortnight later, along with Emery, he was standing on top of the podium again after clinching the world under-23 title in Amsterdam.

Now he’s a winner at senior level.

“It’s been a pretty awesome season. The under-23s was great but we saw it as a warm-up to this event. The New Zealanders pushed us in Amsterdam but we saw other challengers here and we’re just delighted to win,” he said.

This event isn’t an Olympic discipline and there are only six lightweight places available for London — the lightweight four and double sculls. Great Britain will defend their world title today in the four while they are the current Olympic champions in the double which means competition is tough but Chambers has put himself in the mix and the winter trials leading up to the three pre-Olympic world cup events will be crucial.

It was quite a day for parents Gillian and Eric Chambers as they had earlier watched Richard make the final of the lightweight four, which takes place today.

The defending world champions battled Australia through the first half of yesterday’s semi before easing their way to the line to win by over a second. By making the final they also qualified the boat for the Olympics next year.

“Yeah it was a good race, pretty nerve-racking beforehand because it was a very tough semi-final draw but at the end of the day we knew we’d have to beat them at some stage.

“We put ourselves under a lot of pressure to produce a good performance and we did that.

“It was a really solid row, especially through the middle part of the race, and we got into a good rhythm, kept pumping the legs and moved through,” explained the older sibling.

“It is good to get the boat qualified for the Olympics.

“I think for a couple of weeks I wasn’t thinking about it very much, more about winning here, but you can see how fierce the racing is so it’s great to win the semi and make sure the boat will be there in 2012,” he added.

Alan Campbell, also from Coleraine, today contests the semi-finals of the single sculls.

He has the tougher of the two races with world champion Ondrej Synek to contend with.

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