NI rowers advance at European Championships in Czech Republic

Peter Chambers
Peter Chambers (L) and Will Fletcher

Four rowers from Northern Ireland in the Great Britain squad have advanced from the heats at the European Championships in Racice, Czech Republic.

Coleraine's Peter Chambers and Englishman Will Fletcher are into the semi-finals of the men's lightweight double sculls.

Holly Nixon, Joel Cassells and Rebecca Shorten have all moved straight into Sunday's finals of their respective boat classes.

Chambers and Fletcher began the quest for a lightweight double sculls European title fresh from their gold medal winning performance in the first World Cup regatta in Belgrade earlier this month.

However they were forced to qualify for Saturday's semi-finals through the repechage after finishing behind Germany in their heat with only the winners progressing directly.

The duo regrouped and in the afternoon session held off the fast finishing Greek boat to take first place.

Ireland's Rio Olympics silver medal winning brothers, Gary and Paul O'Donovan, who are defending their European title won in Brandenburg twelve months ago, had to follow the same path as Chambers and Fletcher.

They were beaten by Poland in their heat but won their repechage ahead of Ukraine.

Enniskillen's Holly Nixon and her team mates Jess Leyden, Bethany Bryan and Mathilda Hodgkins-Byrne moved up from fourth place to second behind the Netherlands to claim an automatic qualifying place in Sunday's women's quadruple sculls final.

With only five entrants in the women's eight an exhibition race took place to decide the lane draw for Sunday's final with Great Britain finishing second behind Romania. The GB crew includes Belfast's Rebecca Shorten who is making her senior international debut.

Likewise Coleraine's Joel Cassells and partner Sam Scrimgeour were fourth in their lightweight pairs exhibition race behind winners Mark O'Donovan and Shane O'Driscoll from Ireland.

Cassells is aiming for a third European gold medal in consecutive years.

Top Stories