COLERAINE is celebrating more Olympic success after Alan Campbell produced a heroic row to win a bronze medal in this afternoon’s single sculls.
Hundreds braved the rain in Coleraine town centre to cheer on the big man.
Campbell, who came fifth in the event at the 2008 Beijing Games, started well but was just behind Sweden’s Lassi Karonen at the 1500m mark.
But a late surge lifted the 29-year-old Northern Irishman into bronze.
“The two guys were quicker than me,” said an exhausted Campbell, who was helped to the medal ceremony by five-time Olympic champion and BBC Sport analyst Sir Steve Redgrave.
“I did everything I could but, ultimately, I wasn’t able to match them. I am so sore and tired.
“I’m really pleased. It’s another medal for our part of the country, with the Chambers brothers getting the silver in the men’s lightweight four on Thursday.”
He added: “The crowd really lifted me. I could see Lassi. He was going harder than I thought but knowing the shouts were for me meant I had to go now or never and secure that medal.”
“Realistically Alan wasn’t going to do better than that unless someone in front of him messed up. You know the character he is, that crowd was going to get his adrenalin pumping and when it was level coming into that last 500m I had no doubt the crowd were going to lift him.”
Drysdale improved from his third place four years ago when he was hit by illness in the lead up to the final.
He won in a time of six minutes 57.82 seconds, 1.55 and 5.46 seconds clear of Synek and Campbell respectively.
Campbell’s performance was enough to win Team GB’s first medal in the event since 1928.
Because of strong crosswinds, starting lanes were reallocated before the race to reflect the times recorded in the semi-finals.
Campbell, who won silver at the 2009 world championships and took bronze in 2010 and 2011, was moved into a very tough lane three.
But that ultimately did not matter, and he produced a storming finish to beat Karonen - who got off to a blistering start to lead at the 500m quarter-distance mark - by more than three quarters of a second.