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Alliance rep’s pride at brother securing silver with Team GB rowers at Tokyo 2020 Olympics

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Silver medalists Jack Beaumont, Angus Groom, Tom Barras and Harry Leask of Team Great Britain pose with their medals (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

Silver medalists Jack Beaumont, Angus Groom, Tom Barras and Harry Leask of Team Great Britain pose with their medals (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

Getty Images

Jack Beaumont (L) of Team Great Britain celebrates winning the silver medal (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

Jack Beaumont (L) of Team Great Britain celebrates winning the silver medal (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

Getty Images

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Silver medalists Jack Beaumont, Angus Groom, Tom Barras and Harry Leask of Team Great Britain pose with their medals (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

From fears of never walking again to a silver medal in the Tokyo Olympics, an Alliance Party representative has spoken of his pride at watching his brother on the podium for Team GB.

Along with his teammates, Maidenhead man Jack Beaumont came in second in the quadruple sculls race in the early hours of Wednesday, finishing just 1.72 seconds behind world champions the Netherlands.

It hasn't always been plain rowing for the Team GB member, however, after a horrific accident during training back in 2015 left his career - and ability to walk - in doubt.

Beaumont was involved in a collision in which a boat hit him in the back and he capsized while training in Portugal, leading to him being hospitalised for weeks. Following treatment at Bisham Abbey's intensive rehabilitation unit, he managed to come back - and even row in the 2016 Rio Games.

The rower's brother, Matthew Beaumont, is an Alliance Party representative for Fermanagh and Tyrone, after moving here with his wife a number of years ago.

Matthew said their father was a Team GB rower and a finalist in the 1988 Olympics and tried to get all his children involved, however, Jack was the only one who really took him up on the offer.

"He seriously got into it at around 12 years of age, had natural talent, and worked extremely hard over the last 15 years, sacrificing a hell of a lot," Matthew told the Belfast Telegraph.

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"Last night was a rightful reward for all his hard work. To think, back in 2015, he basically had a men's eight row boat go through him and had to get a helicopter back to Great Britain from Portugal.

"At one point, there was a chance he may never walk again, but not only did he walk again - he was at the Rio Olympics about 13 months later. Now five years on, more sacrifice, and he's done it and it's been incredible.

"Our family is pretty spread all over the world, but everyone is just delighted. If you look at the odds at the start of the competition, the team were not expected to medal. To get to the final, that's always good, you're in the top six in the world. But to be within one stroke from gold - that's the row of a lifetime, a mind-blowingly good performance."

Matthew said that what particularly warms his heart is the reaction of the Northern Ireland public.

"What I find so delightful is the number of people in Northern Ireland, especially in Fermanagh and Tyrone, message me about their kids who are into rowing, asking me what Jack did in university, his training and everything," he said.

"It's been genuinely lovely that Northern Ireland seems to want to almost claim his medal as their own. I've been here nine years and I would never expect that to happen. I guess it's part of the culture over here or something. It's really beautiful and I was telling Jack about it and he was just completely blown away, too."


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