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Olympic brothers row in behind marathon launch

By Brian Hill

Coleraine Olympic rowing silver medallists Peter and Richard Chambers have emphasised the importance of hard 10k road runs as part of their preparations for the London Olympics.

The brothers were speaking at the City Hall launch of next year's 32nd Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon.

22-year-old Peter and Richard (27), who were part of the GB silver medal winning lightweight men's four team, are Patrons of the marathon's official charity Cancer Focus Northern Ireland.

Peter explained that the pair included two fast 10k training runs each week as part of their critical Olympic fitness build-up earlier this year at Oxford Brookes University.

He stated: “The runs were a key activity along with other hectic training sessions involving weights and circuit sessions.

“As the Olympics got nearer we then progressed to rowing and cycling.”

Peter was asked as to the Olympic selection pressures where six GB oarsmen were vying for places in the final four.

He explained that thankfully the scenario was totally different to the Wendy Houvenaghel controversy where she was only told after the Games had started that she would not be included in the final cycling team which eventually won gold.

Chambers commented: “The rowing selection was entirely different as it was made on June 6, well before the Games.

“This was necessary as the same crew needs time to physically adjust to competing together in the boat.

“However, the period before June was very stressful as we were constantly being tested and assessed to determine who was going to make the final four.”

Peter confirmed that he and Richard were committed to another hard four years of training leading up to the next Olympics in Rio. Belfast Marathon chairman Danny O'Connor stated that the marathon continued to retain its position as the premier mass participation sporting event in the province.

Despite the poor weather last May over 20,000 had taken part in the various events which included some 11,000 in the relay.

In addition there were an estimated 30,000 spectators along the route.

He said that the only significant change for next May was that the Marathon Walk was being altered to a nine mile event because of timing problems.

O’Connor pointed out that the marathon entry cost of £33 was unchanged.


UK Athletics have appointed a performance director after a four-year gap and will announce the replacement for head coach Charles van Commenee within the next few weeks.

Neil Black, until recently head of sports science and medicine for UKA, has been appointed performance director and will take over some of Van Commenee's role.

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