Chambers takes top spot at October assessment

Richard Chambers
Richard Chambers

Whilst GB’s top rowers are normally exempt from the October assessment, this season is different with the Olympic Games looming in the horizon.

The coaches and Performance Director keep an eye on the progress of winter training and take a look at all those seeking to snatch a squad place before Rio as well as those chasing World U23 and British Universities’ squad places.

Coleraine’s Olympic hopefuls - Alan Campbell, Joel Cassells, Peter and Richard Chambers - were all in action at last weekend’s GB Rowing Team assessment at Boston in Lincolnshire.

With Rio less than 300 days away the tempo was sharp and the event attracted a bumper entry.

In the lightweight men’s single scull Coleraine povided the winner in the shape of Richard Chambers who led home his younger brother, Peter, followed by his 2015 lightweight double scull partner Chester-le-Street’s Will Fletcher, in third. All three recorded times close to those of their open weight counterparts.

Speaking after his race Richard said: “I didn’t expect to do that well.

“My ergo yesterday was steady but I found it hard. I guess 5k is what I’m good at, getting into the rhythm.

“It’s tough but it’s all about working away at it. It’s really good for the lightweights to see Pete and Will in the mix with the big guys. It shows the strength of the lightweight squad.”

Joel Cassells, who has had a pretty memorable season to date, finished sixth in the Lightweight Sculls.

In glorious, sunny conditions Reading’s Olympian and World medallist Sam Townsend won the open men’s single scull title ahead of Leicester’s Jonny Walton and Twickenham’s John Collins.

Collins and Walton, who have raced as the GB Rowing Team double for the last three seasons, finished ahead of 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Alan Campbell.

This weekend’s assessment is the first of three in the build-up to the Olympic Games, with the others taking place on December 19 and February 27-28. The GB Rowing Team Olympic Trials will then be staged at Caversham in March.