New quartet enjoy positive start at European Rowing Championships

Alan Campbell is into the semi-finals
Alan Campbell is into the semi-finals

Olympic silver medallists Richard and Peter Chambers and their Great Britain teammates Mark Aldred and Chris Bartley impressed on the first day of the European Rowing Championships.

In what was their first outing as a quartet, they stormed to victory at Lake Sava in Belgrade in their heat of the lightweight four to move directly to Sunday’s final.

Richard had said before the competition that they were going well in training and now they’ve put it into practice under racing conditions.

It could be a battle royal with Denmark in the final, the boat they beat to silver by inches at the Olympics.

In the men’s single sculls Alan Campbell showed that he is getting back to the form that won him the bronze medal at London 2012.

Despite missing valuable training time over the winter after minor surgery on a wrist injury, Campbell led from start to finish in his heat on Friday to win comfortably from Israel and Serbia and secure direct passage into Saturday’s semi-finals and avoiding the afternoon repechage.

“The plan was to be steady and I feel I executed it well. I felt in control and confident I can deliver a similar race in the semis but the competition will be faster,” he said afterwards.

Campbell has managed to avoid current world champion Ondrej Synek from the Czech Republic and German Marcel Hacker in the semi-final draw with his closest competition expected to come from Lithuania’s Mindaugas Griskonis who was the fourth heat winner.

It was also a positive start for Enniskillen’s Leonora Kennedy and her partner in the women’s pair Lisa Dilleen.

Rowing for Ireland the duo won two gold medals in the recent Memorial Paolo d’Ajola International Regatta in Piedilluco, Italy and continued that good form by finishing second behind Romania in their heat.

It does mean they have to go through Saturday’s repechage but will fancy their chances of making the final.