Belfast Telegraph

Bobby and his boys deserve all our praise

The good news of our sporting achievements continued this week with the success of the Coleraine rower Peter Chambers who won his first world title at the world championships. Together with his partner Kieran Emery he won a gold medal in the final of the men's lightweight pair at Lake Bled in Slovenia.

Peter's had a spectacular year, and in July, from the substitute's bench, he joined the lightweight four at the Lucerne World Cup regatta, taking the gold medal with the quartet, which included his older brother Richard who had already struck gold at the World Championships in 2007 and 2010.

Peter Chambers has also won gold at the world under-23 championships in Amsterdam, once again with Emery. The medals haul may not be over, and today another Coleraine rower Alan Campbell is competing in the semi-final of the single sculls at the world championships.

The success of the Coleraine oarsmen is no coincidence, and it shows what total dedication as well as great talent can achieve.

Support for sport at the grass roots really does matter, and the success of our rowers at different levels is most impressive.

Many deserve credit and no-one is more deserving than the Coleraine coach Bobby Platt who had a hand in helping several local oarsmen start on the road to international achievement.

Bobby captained the Bann Rowing Club in 1959, and from 1972 until 1983. He was also an outstanding coach, and deservedly received several honours.

He is currently President of the Bann Club, and at 89 he is as enthusiastic as ever.

Northern Ireland has not received any major, direct benefits from the preparation for the London Olympics next year, but outstanding success in sport does not depend on massive funding alone.

It is also achieved by the dedication of the Coleraine rowers and people like Bobby Platt, who underline the true meaning of sport. They are a true inspiration and they all deserve our congratulations.

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