Joel Cassells’ excellence continued at the weekend as he picked up another gold medal.
The Ballymoney rower partnered Sam Scrimgeour to successfully defend their unbeaten record this season in the final in Poznan. The Lightweight Pair are already World, European and Lucerne world cup champions and today they took a strong early lead.
“That was our toughest race yet,” said Cassells. “But I’m very, very happy. We kept our heads even when the Danes challenged us.”
By 500m they had almost a length over the field. At halfway they were holding their advantage with Denmark in second and Turkey third. Denmark pushed the GB duo hard in the closing 500m but Cassells and Scrimgeour prevailed to remain unbeaten this season.
“There is still more to come,” said Scrimgeour. “There may be even more crews to enter this event for the Worlds. But we had a good race today and I’d like to thank the support team, we have such a good support team.”
Alan Campbell added a second sculling bronze for GB in the open men’s single final, holding onto third and getting closer than before to the eventual winner and Olympic Champion Mahe Drysdale of New Zealand.
“This shows that I am on the upward path,” said Campbell. “There are some very good people that are not here racing but that’s the closest I’ve been to Mahe for a while and takes the pressure off the next stage of preparations. I look forward to trying to close that further in the coming weeks and it’s great to move up from eighth at the Worlds last year to third here.”
Campbell, back to full health after suffering from hay fever last month, produced a competitive performance in the single sculls final as he was less than five seconds behind New Zealander Drysdale.London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Campbell finished 3.36 seconds behind runner-up Croatian Martin.
The lightweight men’s four of Chris Bartley, Mark Aldred, Jono Clegg and Peter Chambers made a significant step up from the Lucerne world cup to take bronze here in a race won by New Zealand but in which the GB crew contended strongly for silver.
GB were lying in silver medal position at the 1500m mark but were being challenged by the chasing pack. It was going to be close for the podium slots behind the Kiwis who were clearly going to win. In the end, the Danes had just enough pace to take the sliver but GB came home in bronze as a big step up from the last world cup.
“That was a good fight and good technique and puts us where we want to be before the training camps,” added Chambers.
Will Fletcher and Richard Chambers produced some great racing speed early in their lightweight men’s double scull final but slipped from leading at halfway to fifth as their tank ran dry at the end.
Campbell and the Chambers brothers have been picked for the British team for the Rio Games. The trio were medallists in London four years ago while Campbell will become the first NI competitor at four Olympic Games.