Two rowers from the North have helped Great Britain’s lightweight men’s four win a silver medal after being pipped to the line by new Olympic champions South Africa in a sensational final.
In a thrilling sprint for the line, the British crew of Coleraine pair, Richard and Peter Chambers, Rob Williams and Chris Bartley edged 2008 champions Denmark into bronze.
Britain have now won three medals at the Olympic rowing regatta following yesterday’s gold for Helen Glover and Heather Stanning and bronze for the men’s eight.
The lightweight men's four is one of the tightest events in the regatta but Britain came into the final confident of gold following their success at the Munich World Cup in July.
Britain made a slow start as Denmark set the early pace but they stormed back into contention with a strong third 500 metres to set up a four-way sprint for the line.
Peter and Richard Chambers were the first brothers to contest an Olympic final for Team GB since Greg and Jonny Searle produced a barnstorming finish to win gold in Barcelona 20 years ago.
The Chambers brothers, Williams and Bartley found themselves having to do the same.
Denmark were reeled in and, with 100 metres remaining, it appeared as if Britain had enough to snatch the gold.
But South Africa clinched the victory with the final stroke of the two kilometre race in a time of six minutes 2.84 seconds.
The top three crews were separated by just three 10ths of a second.
Richard Chambers told BBC1: ``That was brutal, really, really brutal.
“We were just fighting and fighting just to get ourselves back in contention and we did a cracking job. To even get the silver was impressive from where we came from.
“[We] struggled to keep to the pace of the three crews on the left-hand side in the first quarter of the race but we just dug our heels in and fought really hard.”
Williams struggled to contain his disappointment at missing out on gold.
“It’s a tough event,” he said. “We wanted to win. A silver isn’t fantastic but it’s a medal at the Olympics and you’ve seen the event: you can’t walk into it and expect to get anything.
“We wanted to win but there isn’t just two crews. It’s not like we could have been three lengths back and got the silver.
“We have to be happy to get a medal – these are a home Olympic Games and we’re silver medallists, it’s not terrible.
“It’s a shame we didn’t win – we really wanted to win. But what can you do? We did everything we could.”