Rowing: Chambers sets sights on new targets
Nigel Ringland talks to Northern Ireland’s latest world champion, 21-year-old Peter Chambers, after his rowing gold medal on Thursday
Peter Chambers sat on the banks of the beautiful Lake Bled in Slovenia yesterday reflecting on his world championship success 24 hours earlier.
The 21-year-old’s gold medal win with Kieran Emery for Great Britain in the lightweight men’s pair was the duo’s second global crown in the space of a month having clinched the Under-23 title in Amsterdam.
“I’m still quite taken back by everything. We’ve sort of ended the summer with two world championship wins. It was awesome to win at the Under-23s but here it’s just been so special to be able to come away with such a good result,” said the quietly-spoken younger brother of two-time world champion and Olympic finalist Richard.
Peter took up the sport at the Bann Rowing Club in Coleraine at just 13-years-old under the guidance of Seamus Reynolds following in the footsteps of his brother, five years his senior.
“Richard was definitely a big influence, I actually started out as a cox down at Bann Rowing Club just doing a bit of rowing here and there.
“My coach Seamus Reynolds taught me as a junior about toughness and to keep pushing and pushing and how key that is. He’s very inspired by someone like Muhammad Ali.”
As a junior Peter rowed successfully for Ireland and in 2008, after winning the European junior title, he went to Beijing to watch Richard row in the Olympics.
“It was very inspiring to see those guys and really wanting to be out there even though I was nowhere near the standard of any of the guys but I thought it would be just be cool to be part of that.”
When he went to Oxford Brookes University later that year to study Sports Science he decided to try and become part of the hugely competitive Great Britain programme.
Peter raced in the lightweight quad at the 2009 World Under- 23 Championships, where he won bronze, and a year later took silver in the lightweight men's single sculls before going to his first world senior championships on New Zealand's Lake Karapiro, where he was placed sixth in the final of the same event.
This season, paired with Emery, they took silver in the first World Cup regatta in Munich. Peter was then called into the lightweight four for Lucerne to replace the injured Chris Bartley. Sitting in front of his brother Richard they raced away from the field to clinch an impressive gold medal.
Buoyed by that success Peter headed to Amsterdam for the world Under-23s and the rest of his season has been, as they say, history.
So what does the future hold? Well, there are only six seats in two lightweight boats for the Olympics in London (the lightweight pair isn’t an Olympic discipline) and Peter is probably the first reserve. With the lightweight four taking the bronze medal yesterday and the lightweight double sculls the current Olympic champions, competition is tough. What’s ahead is a long winter of training followed by trials.
“From now we go back into a big group and train and train and push each other and I’m looking forward to being part of that, but it really is one test at a time, one trial at a time and getting stuck into the training.”
He’ll leave the selection question to others but regardless of how 2012 works out for Peter this was probably the first of many world titles and his Olympic ambitions will continue on to Rio.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen with next year but I plan to be in the sport for a long time.
“I’m pushing to be one of the top guys in the squad and that’s where I want to be in four years time.”