Hopefuls are aiming to earn Olympic spot

Joel Cassells and Alan Campbell pictured at Bann Rowing Club on Boxing Day.
Joel Cassells and Alan Campbell pictured at Bann Rowing Club on Boxing Day.

Coleraine’s Olympic rowing hopefuls are set to go to the start line of this week’s GB Rowing Team trials with just 48 Rio places on offer later this summer and earlier seats to be won at the European Championships.

Joel Cassells, Alan Campbell, and Peter Chambers all be in action today (Tuesday) in a bid to secure a seat.

Richard Chambers and Will Fletcher won World silver in the lightweight double last September.

Fletcher remains a strong contender for the light single title alongside twice previous winner Jamie Kirkwood and Zak Lee Green but Chambers has a hand injury which will keep him on the sidelines.

In the pairs event Joel Cassells will seek to impress in his continuing rise from recent student rowing days.

This will be a small but tight event with Peter Chambers, Mark Aldred, Chris Bartley, Jonno Clegg and Sam Scrimgeour all with senior medal experience racing against relative newcomers like Jamie Copus and Sam Mottram.

Perhaps most intriguing race could be the battle for top honours in the open men’s single scull.

Angus Groom won the December assessment. The young Scot is making his mark after joining the senior squad from the ranks of the U23 World medallists.

With Charles Cousins absent through injury, 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Campbell should feel he has a chance to extend his remarkable trials record to nine overall wins. He won eight titles consecutively from 2005-2012 before Cousins took over the mantle.

Sir David Tanner, British Rowing’s Performance Director said: “This is the event when we test the rowers under pressure in pairs and singles to see who has got what it takes to win. The tension is never greater than in Olympic year.”

The announcement of the crews for the European Championships will take place on April 6.