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Alan Campbell rowing for gold at London Olympics

Category: Northern Ireland

Published: 3rd Aug 2012 06:28:47

Alan Campbell first eased himself into a rowing boat back in 1996 while still at school.

He was inspired to take up rowing after watching Sir Steve Redgrave and Sir Matthew Pinsent win pairs gold at the Olympics in Atlanta, and 16 years later he is aiming to end up on the Olympic podium himself.

Like Olympic silver medallist Richard Chambers, the 29-year-old is also a former pupil of Coleraine Inst.

When Prime Minister David Cameron came to Northern Ireland on Wednesday as part of his UK-wide tour to promote the benefits of the Olympics, his first engagement was at Bann Rowing Club which Campbell joined at the age of 16, training seven days a week on the nearby river.

Among those introduced to the prime minister was 90-year-old Bobby Platt, who coached Campbell in his formative years and created a rowing dynasty in the town.

At the age of 19, Campbell dropped out of university to pursue his dream of taking part in the Olympics.

By 2002 he was training at the Tideway Scullers club in Chiswick, west London. It was there that Campbell met his mentor Bill Barry, Olympic silver medalist in the men's four in 1964.

He made his GB debut at the World Under-23 Championships in 2003, where he finished eighth in the single scull.

A year later, he made his Olympic debut at Athens in the quad, and in Beijing four years on, he made the Olympic final where he finished fifth.

It has taken huge amounts of determination and sacrifices to reach the top of his sport, and he says he has put in many hours of gruelling training for London 2012.

"We have rehearsed every single second because we have done over 10 hours worth of training for every second, so every 36,000 times every stroke has been rehearsed," he added.

"The first 1,500 is all about doing the right thing, but the emotion will come in during the last 500."

He finished second in the semi-finals on Wednesday behind race favourite Ondrej Synek of the Czech Republic, and he is now well poised to win a first Olympic medal for Great Britain in the men's single sculls event since 1928.

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BBC News, 2012. Alan Campbell rowing for gold at London Olympics [Online] (Updated 3rd Aug 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1444271/Alan-Campbell-rowing-for-gold-at-London-Olympics [Accessed 17th Apr 2014]

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