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Northern Ireland brothers Richard and Peter Chambers pipped into silver medal position as South Africa claim first ever rowing gold

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From right, Peter Chambers, Rob Williams, Richard Chambers and Chris Bartley won silver in the men's lightweight four rowing final (AP)

From right, Peter Chambers, Rob Williams, Richard Chambers and Chris Bartley won silver in the men's lightweight four rowing final (AP)

Great Britain's (left to right) Chris Bartley, Richard Chambers, Rob Williams and Peter Chambers in win silver the final of the lightweight men's four at Eton Dorney Rowing Lake, Windsor.

Great Britain's (left to right) Chris Bartley, Richard Chambers, Rob Williams and Peter Chambers in win silver the final of the lightweight men's four at Eton Dorney Rowing Lake, Windsor.

Stephen Pond

Fans of Richard and Peter Chambers cheer at Coleraine Baptist church as they and Rob Williams and Chris Bartley won GB's fourth silver medal

Fans of Richard and Peter Chambers cheer at Coleraine Baptist church as they and Rob Williams and Chris Bartley won GB's fourth silver medal

Great Britain's Bradley Wiggins poses for the press after winning the Men's Individual Time Trial on day five of the London Olympic Games at Hampton Court Palace, London

Great Britain's Bradley Wiggins poses for the press after winning the Men's Individual Time Trial on day five of the London Olympic Games at Hampton Court Palace, London

Owen Humphreys

Great Britain, including Coleraine brothers Richard and Peter Chambers, claimed silver in the final of the lightweight men's four at Eton Dorney

Great Britain, including Coleraine brothers Richard and Peter Chambers, claimed silver in the final of the lightweight men's four at Eton Dorney

Great Britain's Bradley Wiggins with his gold medal during a photocall at GB house in London after he won it in the Men's Road Cycling Individual Time Trial.

Great Britain's Bradley Wiggins with his gold medal during a photocall at GB house in London after he won it in the Men's Road Cycling Individual Time Trial.

Andrew Milligan

Ning Ding of China plays a forehand during the Women's Singles Table Tennis quarter-final match against Ai Fukuhara of Japan on on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012

Ning Ding of China plays a forehand during the Women's Singles Table Tennis quarter-final match against Ai Fukuhara of Japan on on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012

Feng Li

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31:  Hope Munro (L) of Australia drops her stick as she is challenged by Julia Mueller of Germany during the Women's Hockey Match between Germany and Australia on day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Riverbank Arena on July 31, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Hope Munro (L) of Australia drops her stick as she is challenged by Julia Mueller of Germany during the Women's Hockey Match between Germany and Australia on day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Riverbank Arena on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

Daniel Berehulak

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31:  Michael Maze of Denmark completes during the Men's Singles Table Tennis quarter-final match against Dimitrij Ovtcharov of Germany on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Michael Maze of Denmark completes during the Men's Singles Table Tennis quarter-final match against Dimitrij Ovtcharov of Germany on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)

Feng Li

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31:  xxxx plays a forehand during the xxxx match against xxxx on on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: xxxx plays a forehand during the xxxx match against xxxx on on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)

Feng Li

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31:  Chad le Clos of South Africa celebrates after winning the gold in the Men's 200m Butterfly final on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on July 31, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Chad le Clos of South Africa celebrates after winning the gold in the Men's 200m Butterfly final on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Al Bello

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31:  xxxx plays a forehand during the xxxx match against xxxx on on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: xxxx plays a forehand during the xxxx match against xxxx on on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)

Feng Li

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31:  Anthony Davis #14 of United States dunks over Salah Mejri #15 of Tunisia during the Men's Basketball Preliminary Round match on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Basketball Arena on July 31, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Anthony Davis #14 of United States dunks over Salah Mejri #15 of Tunisia during the Men's Basketball Preliminary Round match on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Basketball Arena on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

Ian Walton

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31:  Kosuke Kitajima of Japan prepares to compete in the Men's 200m Breaststroke semi final 2 on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on July 31, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Kosuke Kitajima of Japan prepares to compete in the Men's 200m Breaststroke semi final 2 on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

Adam Pretty

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31:  Shiwen Ye of China competes in the Women's 200m Individual Medley final on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on July 31, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Shiwen Ye of China competes in the Women's 200m Individual Medley final on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

Adam Pretty

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31:  (L-R) Gemma Lowe of Great Britain and Kathleen Hersey of the United States dive in the water at the start of the Women's 200m Butterfly semi final 2 on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on July 31, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: (L-R) Gemma Lowe of Great Britain and Kathleen Hersey of the United States dive in the water at the start of the Women's 200m Butterfly semi final 2 on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

Adam Pretty

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31:  Russell Westbrook #7 of United States dunks the ball against Tunisia during the Men's Basketball Preliminary Round match on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Basketball Arena on July 31, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Russell Westbrook #7 of United States dunks the ball against Tunisia during the Men's Basketball Preliminary Round match on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Basketball Arena on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Christian Petersen

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31:  Alaaeldin Abouelkassem of Egypt competes with Byungchul Choi of Korea in the Men's Foil Individual Semifinal against on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Alaaeldin Abouelkassem of Egypt competes with Byungchul Choi of Korea in the Men's Foil Individual Semifinal against on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)

Hannah Johnston

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31:  Anderson Mina Rojas of Equador (R) in action with Uktamjon Rahmonov of Uzbekistan during the Men's Light Welter (64kg) Boxing on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images) ***BESTPIX***

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Anderson Mina Rojas of Equador (R) in action with Uktamjon Rahmonov of Uzbekistan during the Men's Light Welter (64kg) Boxing on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images) ***BESTPIX***

Scott Heavey

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31:  Ai Fukuhara of Japan serves during the Women's Singles Table Tennis quarter-final match match against Ning Ding of China on on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Ai Fukuhara of Japan serves during the Women's Singles Table Tennis quarter-final match match against Ning Ding of China on on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Chris McGrath

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31:  Gabrielle Douglas of the United States of America competes on the balance beam in the Artistic Gymnastics Women's Team final on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at North Greenwich Arena on July 31, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Gabrielle Douglas of the United States of America competes on the balance beam in the Artistic Gymnastics Women's Team final on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at North Greenwich Arena on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Ronald Martinez

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31:  Elizabeth Tweddle of Great Britain performs on the uneven bars in the Artistic Gymnastics Women's Team final on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at North Greenwich Arena on July 31, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Elizabeth Tweddle of Great Britain performs on the uneven bars in the Artistic Gymnastics Women's Team final on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at North Greenwich Arena on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Cameron Spencer

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31:  Sheng Lei of China celebrates winning the Men's Foil Individual Gold Medal Bout against Alaaeldin Abouelkassem of Egypt on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Sheng Lei of China celebrates winning the Men's Foil Individual Gold Medal Bout against Alaaeldin Abouelkassem of Egypt on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)

Hannah Johnston

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31:  Silver medallist Michael Phelps of the United States reacts after receiving his medal during the medal ceremony for the Men's 200m Butterfly final on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on July 31, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Silver medallist Michael Phelps of the United States reacts after receiving his medal during the medal ceremony for the Men's 200m Butterfly final on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Al Bello

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31:  Qingfeng Lin of China competes during the Men's 69kg Weightlifting Final on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Qingfeng Lin of China competes during the Men's 69kg Weightlifting Final on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Laurence Griffiths

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31:  Aidan Zingel #1 and Igor Yudin #6 of Australia block Australia shot from Great Britain during Men's Volleyball on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Earls Court on July 31, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Aidan Zingel #1 and Igor Yudin #6 of Australia block Australia shot from Great Britain during Men's Volleyball on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Earls Court on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Elsa

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31:  Sheng Lei (L) of China competes in the Men's Foil Individual Gold Medal Bout against Alaaeldin Abouelkassem of Egypt on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images) ***BESTPIX***

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Sheng Lei (L) of China competes in the Men's Foil Individual Gold Medal Bout against Alaaeldin Abouelkassem of Egypt on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images) ***BESTPIX***

Lars Baron

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31:  Daniel Narcisse of France jumps ahead of Gonzalo Matias Carou of Argentina during the Men's Handball Preliminary match between Argentina and France on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at The Copper Box on July 31, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Daniel Narcisse of France jumps ahead of Gonzalo Matias Carou of Argentina during the Men's Handball Preliminary match between Argentina and France on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at The Copper Box on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Jeff Gross

Michael Phelps of the United States dives off of the block at the start of heat 5 of the Men's 200m Butterfly on Day 3 of the London 2012 Olympic Games

Michael Phelps of the United States dives off of the block at the start of heat 5 of the Men's 200m Butterfly on Day 3 of the London 2012 Olympic Games

Clive Rose

Nicholas McCrory from the United States during warm-ups on Day 3 of the London 2012 Olympic Games

Nicholas McCrory from the United States during warm-ups on Day 3 of the London 2012 Olympic Games

Clive Rose

German Sanchez Sanchez and Ivan Garcia Navarro (L) of Mexico look on from the pool deck during the Men's Synchronised 10m Platform Diving on Day 3 of the London 2012 Olympic Games

German Sanchez Sanchez and Ivan Garcia Navarro (L) of Mexico look on from the pool deck during the Men's Synchronised 10m Platform Diving on Day 3 of the London 2012 Olympic Games

Clive Rose

Jose Antonio Guerra and Jeinkler Aguirre of Cuba during the Men's Synchronised 10m Platform Diving on Day 3 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on July 30, 2012 in London, England.

Jose Antonio Guerra and Jeinkler Aguirre of Cuba during the Men's Synchronised 10m Platform Diving on Day 3 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on July 30, 2012 in London, England.

Adam Pretty

Eric Hurd and Jeff Larimer of the United States compete during the Men's Canoe Double (C2) Slalom heats on Day 3 of the London 2012 Olympic Games

Eric Hurd and Jeff Larimer of the United States compete during the Men's Canoe Double (C2) Slalom heats on Day 3 of the London 2012 Olympic Games

Phil Walter

Clayton Fredericks of Australia falls from Bendigo in the Eventing Cross Country Equestrian event on Day 3 of the London 2012 Olympic Games

Clayton Fredericks of Australia falls from Bendigo in the Eventing Cross Country Equestrian event on Day 3 of the London 2012 Olympic Games

Alex Livesey

Great Britain's Tom Daley (left) and Peter Waterfield practice before the Men's Synchronised 10m Platform Final during day three of the 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre, Olympic Park, London.

Great Britain's Tom Daley (left) and Peter Waterfield practice before the Men's Synchronised 10m Platform Final during day three of the 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre, Olympic Park, London.

Tony Marshall

Great Britain's Nicola Wilson riding Opposition Buzz jumps The Moon fence on the cross country course during The Eventing at Greenwich Park, on the third day of the London 2012 Olympics.

Great Britain's Nicola Wilson riding Opposition Buzz jumps The Moon fence on the cross country course during The Eventing at Greenwich Park, on the third day of the London 2012 Olympics.

David Davies

Great Britain's Max Whitlock competes on the vault during the Artistic Gymnastics team final at the North Greenwich Arena, London, on the third day of the London 2012 Olympics

Great Britain's Max Whitlock competes on the vault during the Artistic Gymnastics team final at the North Greenwich Arena, London, on the third day of the London 2012 Olympics

Anthony Devlin

Great Britain's Sarah Clark (left) is thrown by France's Automne Pavia during their WomenÕs 57kg Judo bout at the ExCel North Arena 2, London, on the third day of the London 2012 Olympics.

Great Britain's Sarah Clark (left) is thrown by France's Automne Pavia during their WomenÕs 57kg Judo bout at the ExCel North Arena 2, London, on the third day of the London 2012 Olympics.

Andrew Milligan

Great Britain's Richard Brickell during Day 1 of the Skeet Qualification Round at the Royal Artillery Barracks, London, on the third day of the London 2012 Olympics.

Great Britain's Richard Brickell during Day 1 of the Skeet Qualification Round at the Royal Artillery Barracks, London, on the third day of the London 2012 Olympics.

Martin Rickett

Francesca Dallape and Tania Cagnotto of Italy compete in the Women's Synchronised 3m Springboard final on Day 2 of the London 2012 Olympic Games

Francesca Dallape and Tania Cagnotto of Italy compete in the Women's Synchronised 3m Springboard final on Day 2 of the London 2012 Olympic Games

Al Bello

Kazakhstan's Sergey Lim is thrown by Japan's Masashi Ebinuma (right) in the Men's 66kg Judo Round of 16 at the ExCeL Centre on the second day of the London 2012 Olympics.

Kazakhstan's Sergey Lim is thrown by Japan's Masashi Ebinuma (right) in the Men's 66kg Judo Round of 16 at the ExCeL Centre on the second day of the London 2012 Olympics.

Nick Potts

Great Britain's Liam Tancock starts his Men's 100m Backstroke First Semi-final at the Aquatics Centre, London.

Great Britain's Liam Tancock starts his Men's 100m Backstroke First Semi-final at the Aquatics Centre, London.

Tony Marshall

USA's Venus Williams during the practice session at The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon, London.

USA's Venus Williams during the practice session at The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon, London.

Adam Davy

Great Britain's Joseph Regan (blue cap) battles for the ball against Romania in the mens Water Polo preliminary group B match at the Water Polo Arena, London.

Great Britain's Joseph Regan (blue cap) battles for the ball against Romania in the mens Water Polo preliminary group B match at the Water Polo Arena, London.

Andrew Milligan

Great Britain's Beth Tweddle competes on the uneven bars during the Artistic Gymnastics Team Qualification at the North Greenwich Arena, London, on the second day of the London 2012 Olympics

Great Britain's Beth Tweddle competes on the uneven bars during the Artistic Gymnastics Team Qualification at the North Greenwich Arena, London, on the second day of the London 2012 Olympics

Anthony Devlin

Rebecca Adlington (C) of Great Britain competes in the Women's 400m Freestyle heat 3 on Day 2 of the London 2012 Olympic Games

Rebecca Adlington (C) of Great Britain competes in the Women's 400m Freestyle heat 3 on Day 2 of the London 2012 Olympic Games

Clive Rose

Yao Jinnan of China practises on the Beam during training sessions for artistic gymnastics ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games

Yao Jinnan of China practises on the Beam during training sessions for artistic gymnastics ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games

Christian Petersen

Bryony Shaw of Great Britain in action during training at the Weymouth & Portland Venue ahead of the London 2012 Olympic Games

Bryony Shaw of Great Britain in action during training at the Weymouth & Portland Venue ahead of the London 2012 Olympic Games

Clive Mason

Vasiliki Millousi of Greece competes on the beam in the Artistic Gymnastics Women's Team qualification on Day 2 of the London 2012 Olympic Games

Vasiliki Millousi of Greece competes on the beam in the Artistic Gymnastics Women's Team qualification on Day 2 of the London 2012 Olympic Games

Cameron Spencer

Laura Ludwig of Germany dives for the ball during Women's Beach Volleyball Preliminary match between Germany and Australia on Day 2 of the London 2012 Olympic Games

Laura Ludwig of Germany dives for the ball during Women's Beach Volleyball Preliminary match between Germany and Australia on Day 2 of the London 2012 Olympic Games

Ryan Pierse

Victoria Komova of Russia competes on the vault in the Artistic Gymnastics Women's Team qualification on Day 2 of the London 2012 Olympic Games

Victoria Komova of Russia competes on the vault in the Artistic Gymnastics Women's Team qualification on Day 2 of the London 2012 Olympic Games

Ronald Martinez

Mike Dawson of New Zealand competes during the Men's Kayak (K1) Canoe Slalom heats on Day 2 of the London 2012 Olympic Games

Mike Dawson of New Zealand competes during the Men's Kayak (K1) Canoe Slalom heats on Day 2 of the London 2012 Olympic Games

Phil Walter

Heem Wei Lim of Singapore performs on the beam in the Artistic Gymnastics Women's Team qualification on Day 2 of the London 2012 Olympic Games

Heem Wei Lim of Singapore performs on the beam in the Artistic Gymnastics Women's Team qualification on Day 2 of the London 2012 Olympic Games

Cameron Spencer

Michael Phelps of the United States dives into the water to swim his leg of the relay as team mate Nathan Adrian touches the wall during the Final of the Men's 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay  on Day 2 of the London 2012 Olympic Games

Michael Phelps of the United States dives into the water to swim his leg of the relay as team mate Nathan Adrian touches the wall during the Final of the Men's 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay on Day 2 of the London 2012 Olympic Games

Richard Heathcote

Emily Seebohm of Australia competes in the Women's 100m Backstroke semi final 2 on Day 2 of the London 2012 Olympic Games

Emily Seebohm of Australia competes in the Women's 100m Backstroke semi final 2 on Day 2 of the London 2012 Olympic Games

Mike Hewitt

Luol Deng #9 of Great Britain falls as a basket is made against Russia during their Men's Basketball Game on Day 2 of the London 2012 Olympic Games

Luol Deng #9 of Great Britain falls as a basket is made against Russia during their Men's Basketball Game on Day 2 of the London 2012 Olympic Games

Rob Carr

Austin Playfoot, lights the Olympic Cauldron following it being moved into position ready for the athletics in the Olympic Stadium on July 30, 2012 in London

Austin Playfoot, lights the Olympic Cauldron following it being moved into position ready for the athletics in the Olympic Stadium on July 30, 2012 in London

Jeff J Mitchell

Great Britain's Sarah Barrow (near) and Tonia Couch practice their diving routine during the training session in the Aquatics Centre at Olympic Park, London.

Great Britain's Sarah Barrow (near) and Tonia Couch practice their diving routine during the training session in the Aquatics Centre at Olympic Park, London.

Mike Egerton

Great Britain's Rebecca Gallantree (bottom) and Alicia Blagg compete in the Women's Synchronised 3m Springboard at the Aquatics Centre, London, on the second day of the London 2012 Olympics.

Great Britain's Rebecca Gallantree (bottom) and Alicia Blagg compete in the Women's Synchronised 3m Springboard at the Aquatics Centre, London, on the second day of the London 2012 Olympics.

Tony Marshall

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 20:  Street artist James Cochran, Aka Jimmy C puts the finishing touches to a piece of work depicting the face of Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt on July 20, 2012 in London, England.  The opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic games will take place in seven days on July 27, 2012.  (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 20: Street artist James Cochran, Aka Jimmy C puts the finishing touches to a piece of work depicting the face of Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt on July 20, 2012 in London, England. The opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic games will take place in seven days on July 27, 2012. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Dan Kitwood

Annabelle Smith of Australia practices a dive during a training session ahead of the London Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre in Olympic Park on July 26, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Annabelle Smith of Australia practices a dive during a training session ahead of the London Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre in Olympic Park on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Al Bello

A member of Team Australia practices the floor exercise during training sessions for artistic gymnastics ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games at Greenwich Training Academy on July 26, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

A member of Team Australia practices the floor exercise during training sessions for artistic gymnastics ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games at Greenwich Training Academy on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Ronald Martinez

Diver Tom Daley of Great Britain shakes water out of his hair as he climbs out of the pool during a diving training session ahead of the London Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre in Olympic Park on July 26, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Diver Tom Daley of Great Britain shakes water out of his hair as he climbs out of the pool during a diving training session ahead of the London Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre in Olympic Park on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Al Bello

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 26:  Tom Daley (R) and  Peter Waterfield of Great Britain during a training session ahead of the London Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre in Olympic Park on July 26, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 26: Tom Daley (R) and Peter Waterfield of Great Britain during a training session ahead of the London Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre in Olympic Park on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

Adam Pretty

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 26:  Tom Daley of Great Britain  dives during a training session ahead of the London Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre in Olympic Park on July 26, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 26: Tom Daley of Great Britain dives during a training session ahead of the London Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre in Olympic Park on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Clive Rose

Great Britain's Tim Baillie (left) and Stott Etienne in action in the mens double canoe during the training session at Lee Valley White Water Centre, Waltham Cross. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday July 26, 2012. Photo credit should read: Stephen Pond/PA Wire.

Great Britain's Tim Baillie (left) and Stott Etienne in action in the mens double canoe during the training session at Lee Valley White Water Centre, Waltham Cross. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday July 26, 2012. Photo credit should read: Stephen Pond/PA Wire.

Stephen Pond

Athletes from the Great Britain Women's Synchronised Swimming team practice during a training session ahead of the London Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre in Olympic Park on July 25, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Athletes from the Great Britain Women's Synchronised Swimming team practice during a training session ahead of the London Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre in Olympic Park on July 25, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Al Bello

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 25:  (EDITORS NOTE: Multiple exposures were combined in camera to produce this image.) A Chinese diver trains ahead of the London Olympic Games at the Aquatic Centre on July 25, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 25: (EDITORS NOTE: Multiple exposures were combined in camera to produce this image.) A Chinese diver trains ahead of the London Olympic Games at the Aquatic Centre on July 25, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)

Hannah Johnston

The Great Britain synchronize team train ahead of the London Olympic Games at the Aquatic Centre on July 25, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)

The Great Britain synchronize team train ahead of the London Olympic Games at the Aquatic Centre on July 25, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)

Hannah Johnston

Yang Sun of China swims during a training session ahead of the London Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre in Olympic Park on July 26, 2012 in London, England.

Yang Sun of China swims during a training session ahead of the London Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre in Olympic Park on July 26, 2012 in London, England.

Adam Pretty

James Goddard of Great Britain looks on during a training session ahead of the London Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre in Olympic Park on July 26, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

James Goddard of Great Britain looks on during a training session ahead of the London Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre in Olympic Park on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

Adam Pretty

Swimmer Hayden Stoeckel of Australia swims during a training session ahead of the London Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre in Olympic Park on July 26, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

Swimmer Hayden Stoeckel of Australia swims during a training session ahead of the London Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre in Olympic Park on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

Adam Pretty

Daniele Matias Hypolito of Brazil chalks her feet on the uneven bars during training sessions for artistic gymnastics ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games at Greenwich Training Academy on July 26, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Daniele Matias Hypolito of Brazil chalks her feet on the uneven bars during training sessions for artistic gymnastics ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games at Greenwich Training Academy on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Ronald Martinez

From right, Peter Chambers, Rob Williams, Richard Chambers and Chris Bartley won silver in the men's lightweight four rowing final (AP)

After simmering through the heats, this regatta is reaching a scalding boil. In qualifying, boats have been exchanging positions with painful reluctance, if at all, but today a home crew played a stirring role in the finish of the week so far.

In getting as close as they did, admittedly, the men of the lightweight four initially struggled to separate pride and despair. Neutrals, however, would urge them not only to treasure their silver medals, but also to acknowledge a significant breakthrough for their sport. For the oarsmen who thwarted them so narrowly were the first to win gold for South Africa – including, at stroke, a pioneer for the black community in Sizwe Ndlovu.

And what, after all, might the Australian and Danish give for that silver, as testimony to their own contribution to a four-way, half-length shoot-out that was exhausting merely to watch? The Danes had thrown down the gauntlet, opening up by a length on Australia at halfway, and the British took time to find top gear. Closing to third, they had an overlap at 1,500 metres, but it was the Australians who had all but drawn level. The Danes bravely broke that challenge, but lost their rhythm in the process – enabling the British, inspired by the patriotic tumult, to make rapid gains on their other side. And here came South Africa, fast and late. It was anybody’s race. The home crew nosed past the Danish stern yards from the finish, only to find that the lead had already changed hands, moments before. Three boats flashed over the line within a canvas, leaving the Australians somehow bereft.



Perhaps even the latter, however, would not begrudge bronze for the Danish veteran, Eskild Ebbesen – a sixth Olympic medal, in his final race. And the British soon stifled aggrieved mutterings that they had been most exposed to the crosswind. Chris Bartley threw up repeatedly. Gradually, however, they retrieved their bearings.

The odyssey of Northern Ireland brothers Richard and Peter Chambers has been one of the stories of the week, and now they had become the first brothers in the UK to win a medal since Greg and Jonny Searle, fellow oarsmen, shared bronze at Atlanta in 1996. And, even if blood is thicker, water has been a gratifying medium for consanguinity of another kind, with Bartley and Rob Williams.



Richard Chambers was quick to recognise second, in such a race, as an ample honour. “Whatever medal we won, it was going to be hard to celebrate,” the Ulsterman explained. “We were in absolute agony. We had to dig in and fight to the death. But we’re ecstatic. It’s definitely a day to celebrate. And massive credit to our competition.”

He told BBC1: "We were just fighting and fighting just to get ourselves back in contention and we did a cracking job. To even get the silver was impressive from where we came from.

Bartley still felt groggy at the press conference a couple of hours later. “I don’t remember much of the last 250, to be honest,” he said. “We were so determined to make that podium, you’ll literally do anything to get there. The pain is so extreme, there’s nothing to compare with it unless you give it a try. So, yeah, give it a go.”



His grinning invitation seemed unlikely to find many takers, there and then, but the overall momentum of the British sport must now serve as an inspiration in Ndlovu’s homeland. “There are around 20 black South Africans for every 100 whites in rowing,” he said. “So I’m excited about what we have achieved today, and hope I can serve as a role model back home. Rowing’s more expensive than other sports, so black kids tend to get drawn towards rugby and soccer. Hopefully this will inspire a generation to take it up. It’s got to be good for our rowing community.”



The 29-year-old discovered the sport at high school in Johannesburg, but training facilities since have hardly matched the Lottery lagoons of the runners-up. “We have hippos and crocs,” he said. “One time, we passed the hippos and on the way back one popped up four metres from the boat. So we stopped and our coach took pictures, it was like a safari extreme.”



Not that the hosts themselves have experienced anything quite like this week. “It’s amazing, 25,000 or 30,000 people cheering for four midgets in a boat,” Richard Chambers marvelled. “What have we done to deserve that?” It is hard to see how this true band of brothers might have done any more.

Belfast Telegraph


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