Coleraine brothers Richard and Peter Chambers took the bronze medal in the men’s lightweight four final at the World Rowing Championships in Amsterdam on Sunday.
Alongside Mark Aldred and Chris Bartley the duo served up an enthralling three-way battle for honours with defending champions Denmark and New Zealand from start to finish but then had to hold off a powerful sprint from France in the final 500m in order to make sure they maintained their place on the podium.
“I said to the guys that it’s better to have tried and failed than to not have tried at all and we knew after the semi-final that we would have to grab the race by the throat and really go for it and we came unstuck in the last 250 metres but I’d rather have that than to have played it safe,” explained Richard afterwards.
“We talked with Olympic champion James Cracknell a few weeks ago at our training camp and he was saying that second place is the same as sixth and that’s what we kept telling each other.
“We wanted to win, we went for the win and we came away with a bronze so it’s disappointing but we can hold our heads high.”
It was nip and tuck all the way down the 2000-metre course with the Danes edging in front over the first quarter; only to be overtaken by New Zealand but with 500 metres remaining there was less than a second between the three boats.
It was the Danes who proved to be the strongest and they raised their stroke rate to 42 and pulled away from the Kiwis with Great Britain maintaining third but the fast finishing French gave cause for concern and on the line there was only three-tenths of a second between GB and missing out on the medals completely.
Peter Chambers added, “I wasn’t really thinking about the French, all I was thinking about was the win and it came apart a bit in the last 500 metres but we were good enough to hang on in the end to what we had, I’m pleased with the way it went and the way we went about it.
“We could have come third after playing it safe but we went for the win and bronze is what we got.”
The three crews have dominated the 2014 season and halfway through the Rio Olympic cycle the Great Britain boat look in good shape.
The Chambers brothers and Bartley remain from London 2012 when they took the Olympic silver with Aldred the newcomer this year and with silver in the European Championships, two bronze in the world cups and this third place, its been a good season with plenty to work on.
“Last year Richard and Peter took a year out from the four and this has been a process of rebuilding and trying to make this four as good as it can be and that’s the best we could have done and there’s a couple more years to get it right,” said Bartley.
Great Britain delivered a fireworks finale to the World Rowing Championships by taking gold in the men’s eight to add to the bronze won by the lightweight men’s four.
Nathaniel Reilly O’Donnell, Mat Tarrant, William Satch, Matt Gotrel, Pete Reed, Paul Bennett, Tom Ransley and Constantine Louloudis, coxed by Phelan Hill, delivered a consummate performance to defend GB’s 2013 title ahead of the Olympic Champions from Germany and Poland in third.
Sir David Tanner said: “What a climax to a great set of finals and medals from our team. Two more strong medals today from the light men’s four and the men’s eight with the exceptional achievement of defending our eight’s gold from last year”.
Overall the GB Rowing Team have won ten medals here compared to eight in 2013, four golds, four silvers and two bronzes. The top rowers now have a three-week training break. They will return to training in late September and will next be in action at the British Championships in Nottingham in October.