Coleraine brothers Richard and Peter Chambers took gold in the final World Cup regatta of the season in Munich yesterday with Alan Campbell clinching bronze.
While the slate is now wiped clean and the three Team GB athletes head off to training camps to put in final preparations for London 2012 — now less than six weeks away — there were contrasting emotions for the trio.
Younger brother Peter returned to the lightweight four after injury joining his older brother Richard and Rob Williams and Chris Bartley for this event.
The British combination faced the Olympic champions, Denmark, and the World champions, Australia, but not the Chinese who won the last World Cup in Lucerne.
At the halfway stage of the final the quartet were in in fourth place before making their decisive move.
Within 500m they had moved into the lead and had a length on the field. Then came the attack from Australia and the Danes as they tried to claw the margin back in a furious sprint to the line, but to no avail. Gold went to GB in 6:16.34 with Australia second and Denmark third.
The result meant they collected a full set of medals from the three World Cups, the overall title and head into the Olympics with a lot of confidence.
“We are such a strong crew,” said Richard. “We may not look pretty but we are strong. We didn’t have the best build-up but it was great to win today and now we can go away and build on that.”
Peter added: “I only got back in the boat a week ago so I’m really chuffed. The Chinese were missing today and we will have to be ready for those guys. They are going to be really tough, but that’s what it is all about.”
By contrast, Campbell would have hoped for a better result despite his bronze medal. In the absence of his friend but great rival Mahe Drysdale and his Czech nemesis Ondrej Synek, Campbell started the regatta as clear favourite having beaten all the competition comfortably throughout the last six weeks.
That’s not to say that Sweden’s perennial finalist Lassi Karonen and home rower Marcel Hacker aren’t great competitors, but Campbell, trying some new race tactics, didn’t have his traditional fast start and was third with 500m gone and then dropped back to fourth at halfway. He recovered well but Hacker took gold in 7:07.31. Silver went to Karonen and bronze to Campbell in 7:12.74.
“I am disappointed with that but it’s a start that we can work on in the next few weeks at training camps,” he said afterwards.