Alan Campbell wins bronze in single sculls Olympic final

Exhausted Campbell is helped on to dry land

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Northern Ireland's Alan Campbell has won bronze in the Olympic final of the men's single sculls race.

He is the third rower from Coleraine in County Londonderry to win a medal over the past 24 hours, with the Chambers brothers taking silver on Thursday.

After the race, an exhausted Campbell said that having three medal winners from one town was "pretty exceptional".

It is the first time a team from Great Britain and Northern Ireland has won a medal in the single sculls since 1928.

Campbell appeared completely spent in his post-race interview and was helped to the medal ceremony by Sir Steve Redgrave.

The 29-year-old broke down in tears as he was presented with his medal, overwhelmed with emotion.

Speaking to BBC Sport, he said he had trained for a decade for this moment and was "really pleased" and "very proud".

'Fantastic'

"It's another medal for our wee part of the country - the Chambers brothers yesterday with the silver, myself with the bronze and I'm proud to be from there and proud to represent all parts of the British Isles.

"To have three medals from the one town is pretty exceptional and I'm very happy about that," he said.

His parents, William and Jenny Campbell, were in Eton Dorney for the final and said they were "delighted".

His father said: "He was up against the big guns today and now he is one of the big guns - he's fantastic."

Mrs Campbell told BBC Sport that she had "screamed the whole way" to support her son during the race.

Alan Campbell at medal ceremony Alan Campbell broke down in tears as he was presented with his medal

"I just willed him on. I knew we could and I told the crowd that we could do this," she said.

The Coleraine man took up the sport while he was still at secondary school and has now been involved in rowing for 16 years.

His mother added: "I did think he had it in him and he felt he had it in him and we had to go with that. He'd felt confident that he was a medal winner today and we're just so delighted.

"It was a gutsy, gutsy performance because Alan Campbell is not the tallest in that field of single scullers. He's dwarfed by all the other guys and so he really has to work hard to get there and I think he worked hard to get there today," she said.

Moved

New Zealand's Mahe Drysdale took the gold medal in the final ahead of Ondrej Synek of the Czech Republic.

"Two guys were quicker than me today and I did everything I could," Campbell said.

Just hours before the final, the competitors' race positions were reallocated and the Coleraine man was moved to a more disadvantageous lane.

Race conditions in lane 3 are believed to be more difficult than his original lane 5 position, as it is affected by to cross winds over the the last 500m.

The lanes were redrawn to reflect the competitors' semi final performances.

On Thursday, Coleraine brothers, Richard and Peter Chambers, narrowly missed out on Olympic gold in the lightweight men's four final, having had to contend with difficult wind conditions in their lane.

Campbell had been widely tipped for a medal ahead of Friday's final, having finished second in his semi final on Wednesday.

Impressive

In 2003, he gave up a university degree course and Army training to dedicate himself to his rowing career.

He competed his first Olympics in Athens in 2004 and made it through to the final four years later.

He came fifth in Beijing, an impressive performance considering that he had suffered a knee infection prior to the Games which meant he almost didn't make the team.

Since the last Olympics, he has picked up a silver and two bronze medals in three successive World Championships.

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