IN the midst of all the celebrations at Coleraine Town Hall on Friday cut a man with a wry smile - and quite rightly so.
For the man in question was legendary rowing coach Bobby Platt MBE.
After witnessing the bronze medal winner’s career burgeon from a young teenager to that of a successful Olympian, Bobbie said the Coleraine rower’s achievement was “absolutely tremendous”.
The president of Bann Rowing Club, where Alan first picked up his oars, was among a crowd of hundreds who turned out to watch his Olympic bid at the town’s giant television screen.
“There were cheers and it was just a great thing to watch him,” said the man who also helped shape the careers of silver medallists, Richard and Peter Chambers who powered the lightweight men’s four on to the podium the previous day.
“My personal opinion is that he couldn’t have done any better; he rowed a magnificent race.
“The quality of the sculling was very high and probably the highest as ever I have seen for many years and for him to get a bronze medal was outstanding,” he said.
Having coached Alan sing the age of about 13, Mr Platt had witnessed the young man flourish from being described this week by proud parents Jennifer and William as possessing “no sporting credibility whatsoever” as a child to great heights.
The former coach, who retired very recently, confirmed that by the time Alan came before him “he showed promise and had the ability and the keenness to do well”.
“I think the future for him is very good, depending on whether he he intends to continue with sculling or going fours or eights but he’s done absolutely tremendously to get the bronze today.”
“It’s such a good thing to see him and the Chambers brothers coming forward and for sport and rowing in Northern Ireland in general,” he said.