Coleraine now a mecca for world rowing says Olympian

BANN-TASTIC HONOUR...Prime Minister David Cameron talks to ex-Irish Olympian Richard Archibald and Bann rowers. CR32-307pl
BANN-TASTIC HONOUR...Prime Minister David Cameron talks to ex-Irish Olympian Richard Archibald and Bann rowers. CR32-307pl
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HE’S another of our Olympian greats, a fantastic ambassador for Coleraine and Irish rowing.

Sporting his striped Ireland Rowing blazer, Richard Archibald, was rightly included in Bann Rowing Club’s welcoming reception when David Cameron came calling last Wednesday morning.

Now 34 and a proud dad of two young daughters, Richard knows all about competing at the very top level of rowing.

He finished sixth in the men’s lightweight coxless four at the 2004 Olympics in Athens and also took part in the Beijing Olympics four years later alongside Paul Griffin, Cathal Moynihan and Gearoid Towey.

Richard was thrilled to meet the Prime Minister and blown away about the significance of his visit.

“It’s fantastic, an amazing sign that during the Olympics the Prime Minister is coming to Coleraine and on a day when Team GB is likely to get its first rowing gold medal [he was right!].

“It’s a really great sign that rowing in the town is right up there on the world stage.”

Pehaps more than anyone else, Richard knows the enormous sacrifices individuals have to make to become Olympians.

And he hailed Bann Rowing Club’s progressive team of coaches and committee members on their continued success at Irish, British, European and World level.

“It takes years of hard work to become an Olympian but the club and the support of the coaches and the volunteers, that takes a lot of time to build but now that is coming around and coming to fruition. Coleraine’s name is up there.”

Hoping that the boys in London can being home medals, Richard added: “You also think of all the training that goes into it so I don’t envy that. And yes I’ve done nothing but watch TV for the past five days!

“The coverage has been great and there have been some great performances from Northern Ireland athletes across the board.

“But having David Cameron here is a real sign that Coleraine is a rowing powerhouse and in future a sporting powerhouse.”