Campbell moves into semis after single sculls win
Coleraine's Alan Campbell moved safely into the semi-finals of the men's single sculls at the World Rowing Championships in Korea with a comfortable victory in his quarter-final yesterday.
The three-time medalist in the world championships had just seen one of the shocks of the regatta so far as his close friend and defending world and Olympic champion, Mahe Drysdale from New Zealand, failed to make the top three in his race and therefore crashed out of the event.
Campbell's draw also got a little easier when his would-be closest challenger, Luka Spik, from Slovenia was unable to start and Great Britain's leading sculler led from start to finish in a time of 7:08.70, almost seven seconds ahead of Sawarn Singh from India.
In his semi-final tomorrow, Campbell will come up against favourite Ondrej Synek, who won the silver just ahead of Campbell at the Olympics last summer, and Azerbaijan sculler Aleksander Aleksandrov who he lost to at Henley in July.
"I did a good solid row. I always knew I could win it but made sure I kept the focus on doing my job," explained Campbell.
"Decent semi-final draw. Obviously Synek is a form man but it will be good to see if I've improved against Aleksandrov from the world cups."
Afterwards, all the talk was about the failure of Drysdale to make the semi-finals. Like Campbell, the New Zealander took a long sabbatical after London 2012.
"I'm shocked but not completely surprised to see Mahe go down in the quarter finals," said Campbell. "I think he'll be the first to admit he hasn't trained the necessary amount needed to win this year.
"It makes him a danger for next year. I'm uncertain what affect his absence will have on the semis. He is still Olympic champion and I will always respect him as an athlete and friend."
Meanwhile, Leonora Kennedy, from Enniskillen and rowing with Monika Dukarska for Ireland, came through the women's double sculls repechage in second place behind Ekaterina Potapova and Maria Krasilnikova of Russia.
Kennedy said: "Today's race wasn't our best, we had a good start but didn't quite find our rhythm. But we'll learn from it and hopefully bring some changes into the semi and on into which ever final we get into.
The semi is going to be a massive test for us. It's the senior world championship debuts for both of us so we've not had a bad start. Just going have to make sure we move on and improve on Friday."
Coleraine brothers Richard and Peter Chambers were involved in the semi-final of the men's lightweight double sculls in the early hours of Thursday morning BST looking to clinch a place in Saturday's final.