It may have been an up and down 2015 for Peter Chambers but the rower remains confident he can win a second Olympic medal during the new year.
The 25-year-old Coleraine man famously won lightweight men’s four silver with brother Richard, Rob Williams and Chris Bartley at the London 2012 Games.
He went on to claim bronze and silver medals at the first two World Championships of the Rio 2016 Olympiad but had to settle for ninth place with the lightweight four at this year’s event in Aiguebelette.
That result was good enough to qualify the boat for Rio, though, and Chambers believes the GB Rowing Team lightweight men will once again prove their podium potential when it matters most.
“It was a bit of a mess from the start in 2015 but we have moved on from that now,” said Chambers, who was born in Ballymoney and learnt to row at Bann RC.
“We have got the boat through to Rio and it is back to a level playing field again now. We’re all focused on what we want to achieve next year.
“Things have been going well so far in winter training. We are quite a tight knit group in the lightweight squad and there is a lot of competition and quality in there, the standard has really come up.
“It would be great to go and repeat what we did in London, and hopefully go one better. As a group we should be aiming to get on the podium.”
Despite his unforgettable achievement at London 2012, where the four came within a second of winning gold, Chambers is only experiencing a full Olympiad for the first time.
He was part of the U23 squad during the build-up to London and made the step up to senior level after winning lightweight men’s pair gold at both the World and U23 Championships in 2011.
“I didn’t make the Olympic-class boat until Olympic year last time,” he recalled. “I’m more experienced this time and have a better idea of what will happen in the months ahead but it’s not really that different so far.”
Looking to emulate Chambers by making a late break into an Olympic-class boat is fellow Coleraine rower Joel Cassells.
The 21-year-old was crowned as World and European lightweight men’s pair champion in 2015, winning the latter title with Chambers, and is keen to use that as a springboard to a Rio 2016 place.
“Last season was an incredible one for me, I never expected to end up with European and World title but it’s an amazing feeling,” said Cassells.
“It has given me so much more drive for this season but I’ll always just take it one day at a time and see what it all brings.
“As a team we will all have to fight for a place at the Olympics.
“There are never any seats with names engraved underneath them and it’s that competitive side that makes us a world-class squad.”