Peter Chambers and Will Fletcher take gold at Belgrade World Cup regatta

Peter Chambers
Peter Chambers won a silver medal in the men's lightweight pair at the London 2012 Olympics

Coleraine's Peter Chambers and Will Fletcher from England took gold for Great Britain & NI at the first World Cup regatta of the season in Belgrade.

The new pairing won Sunday's final of the lightweight men's double sculls, leading from start to finish.

Ireland's Rio Olympic silver medallists Paul and Gary O'Donovan were fourth.

There were also bronze medals for Enniskillen's Holly Nixon in the women's quadruple sculls and Joel Cassells in the lightweight men's pair.

Chambers and Fletcher held off a late surge from Czech Republic and Poland, with the O'Donovan brothers struggling home out of the medal positions in Serbia.

With the double sculls the only lightweight category remaining on the Olympic programme for Tokyo 2020 this was the first opportunity for Chambers and Fletcher to lay down a marker for the rest of the season and beyond.

Having come through their heat and semi-final comfortably, they set an impressive pace in the final from the start and by the halfway mark they had built up a lead of a length.

Fletcher had sculled with Peter's older brother Richard during the last Olympic cycle and eventually finished seventh in Rio while the younger Chambers sibling was a member of the lightweight four that also finished seventh.

There were only three entrants in the women's quadruple sculls and Poland, with two under-23 world champions in the their quartet and Netherlands with two Olympic silver medallists among their crew, were too strong for a Great Britain boat that included Nixon.

In the lightweight men's pair Cassells and partner Sam Scrimgeour, the current European champions, led after the first 500m but were overhauled by Ireland's Shane O'Driscoll and Mark O'Donovan by the halfway mark and by the Russian pair in the final stages of the race.

The GB pair ultimately had to settle for third place with the Irish duo going on to take gold.

All three Northern Ireland rowers are expected to be named next week in the Great Britain squad for the European Championships in Racice, Czech Republic that take place from 26-28 May.

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