Belfast Telegraph

Dropped rower Campbell has vowed to make it to Rio Olympics

By Ian Parkes

Olympic bronze medallist Alan Campbell is refusing to give up on participating at the 2016 Games in Rio, despite being omitted from the Great Britain rowing squad for next month's World Championships in Amsterdam.

The Coleraine man has been left out of the 66-strong squad, with performance director Sir David Tanner admitting "there's something not quite right" with the 2012 bronze winner at present.

The 31-year-old won silver at the 2009 World Championships in Poznan, but will not get the chance to emulate that success this year.

Britain will now head to Amsterdam with no one competing in the open men's single sculls, with the tournament running from August 24-31.

"I'm pretty devastated," said Campbell.

"The chief coach took me aside and said that they feel my performance didn't meet the criteria and wasn't good enough to be selected and therefore I wouldn't be going to the World Championships.

"For me that just sends a message that you have to do well at this or that race in order to be able to do another race.

"Obviously the races that I want to do are the World Championships and try to qualify to go to the Olympic Games – and ultimately Rio."

Tanner explained the reason behind the decision to leave Campbell out of the squad, was based on his performances this season.

"Alan has not had his best season, he made the final in the Europeans, but he had a new baby arrive, and he didn't make the top 12 (at the World Rowing Cup event) in Lucerne," said Tanner.

"Our view is that there's something not quite right with Alan, and therefore he will not race in Amsterdam. We see him as taking some breath, he's not ill, we think something that cannot be measured is not right for him.

"We see him as very much still a candidate for the Olympics in Rio, but he won't race in Amsterdam."

British rowing chiefs have tipped Campbell to be revitalised by a break from competition and backed him to continue his fight for inclusion at the 2016 Olympics – a fight that the 31-year-old is determined to win.

Chief men's coach Jurgen Grobler admitted four years of solo racing could have taken its toll on the man from Coleraine.

"He's been through tough times after the Olympics," said Grobler. "He didn't quite carry on in the same way.

"He came third this year in the national trials, so we can't measure why that is. Maybe it's that a single event took so much out of him in the last four years.

"From my experience from 44 years sometimes it takes longer to recover mentally and physically. Alan has done it: he has had some top times in the past.

"Nobody is too old, or too young. He has done it and shown good performances, but if people six or seven years older can do it then there's no reason why Alan can't.

"We have to draw the line now in his interest: I don't have the recipe to turn things around in five weeks.

"We tried everything, but right now he would be at an average performance level.

"Of course he will not totally agree, but in his interest he's too good to demonstrate, he needs a longer rest now and to start again.

"I still think he has the potential to return in the future."

And Campbell insists he has the determination to do just that

"If I can come back from this then I feel that I will give myself a really good shot and a really good chance of going to Rio in the best frame of mind and just rip the books apart," he said.

The Chambers brothers, Richard and Peter, from Coleraine, have both been selected in the GB squad.

They will compete in the men's lightweight four, which was the event in which they won silver at London 2012.

"Amsterdam will be good, it's obviously great to be selected and we're looking forward to getting through our training and then getting out and racing," said Peter.

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