Belfast Telegraph

Alan Campbell ready to take on the World Rowing Championships again

By Steven Beacom

Alan Campbell will complete a remarkable comeback when he competes in the World Rowing Championships tomorrow.

One year ago the renowned Coleraine rower and Olympic bronze medal winner at London 2012 was forced to watch the World Championships from home, having been dropped from the Team GB squad.

Some thought his outstanding career at the top level was over. Campbell, though, is made of strong stuff and knew there was more left in the tank.

He has proved it, claiming an impressive third place at the World Cup regatta in Switzerland earlier this year.

That performance and other impressive displays persuaded the Team GB selectors that the 34-year-old still had plenty to offer, choosing him to race in the single sculls event at this year's World Championships, which begin with the heats on beautiful Lake Aiguebelette, in France.

In the 2009 World Championships, Campbell won a silver medal and followed that up with bronzes in 2010 and 2011 so he is well aware of what will be required to make the podium.

Should he be successful in that aim this time it will be a cracking result in an event which has attracted the biggest field in the Championships.

Out of the 41 entries, Campbell will relish taking on his good friends, the legendary Kiwi Mahe Drysdale, who won the Olympic title in 2012, and Czech Ondrej Synek, the 2014 world champion.

There is not just World Championship glory at stake over the next week in France. Olympic places for Rio 2016 are also up for grabs.

Campbell will rightly feel he can claim one, with a top nine finish earning Team GB a single sculls spot in Brazil.

Campbell's fellow Coleraine natives and Olympic medallists, Richard and Peter Chambers, are also in France with high hopes of making an impact.

The elder of the Chambers brothers, Richard, teams up with Will Fletcher in the lightweight double sculls.

Chambers told the Belfast Telegraph he feels the French boat will be the one to beat, but they will certainly fancy bringing home a medal.

Chambers said: "This season so far has been an exciting one for us.

"We are progressing well. With us as a new combination this year to be on the podium would be a good starting block for us and something to build on going into the Olympic year.

"To win I believe we would have to beat France which will be the stand-out boat in the competition."

Richard and Peter, of course, won silver in the lightweight four in London, just centimetres away from taking gold.

Peter will be a key figure in the lightweight four in France alongside Jono Clegg, Mark Aldred and Chris Bartley.

For GB to have a team in the lightweight double and lightweight four, their representatives need top 11 finishes next week. Those targets for both should be achieved with the minimum of fuss.

Joel Cassells, another Colerine man, is also competing. He will race with Sam Scrimgeour in the lightweight pairs. That is not an Olympic event, but a big performance from Cassells could see him focus minds among Team GB chiefs and move him into contention for a place in a Rio event.

GB have sent a team of 75 and there is a desire to achieve more than last year's 10 medals.

Ireland are also sending a team to the World Championships with Fermanagh's Leonora Kennedy in the women's four with Monika Dukarska, Barbara O'Brien and Aifric Keogh.

Belfast Telegraph


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