Chris Bartley: Delight at Olympic rower's silver medal

Chris Bartley said he was proud of the rowing team, although their success had not yet sunk in

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The parents of rower Chris Bartley have described their delight after their son became Wales' first Olympic medallist at London 2012.

Bartley, 28, from Wrexham, and the rest of the lightweight men's four won silver with Team GB, just missing out on gold to South Africa in a dramatic finish.

His father Geoff said: "It's absolutely unbelievable and brilliant."

Stroke man Bartley said he was proud but in pain after the race.

Olympic rowing great Sir Steve Redgrave said the team did all they could.

He needed to be helped from his boat and then onto the medal podium and said: "The pain was quite extreme and I was physically sick a couple of times. I'm still not feeling tip-top but I'll be ok."

Despite that, he described himself as really happy and proud of the team, and was pleased that his father had a Welsh flag at the event.

First Minister Carwyn Jones led the praise, saying: "Congratulations to Chris Bartley on a truly gripping performance that has brought Wales our first medal of these Olympic Games.

"Let's hope for more success to boost our medal tally."

Sport Minister Huw Lewis added: "Many congratulations to Chris Bartley and his lightweight coxless four teammates for their Olympic silver medal, the first Welsh medal at these Games.

Sue and Geoff Bartley Sue and Geoff Bartley watched their son compete at Eton Dorney - complete with Welsh flag

"We still have many more medal chances to come and I hope this will start the ball rolling for Wales. Da iawn Chris."

Sport Wales chair Laura McAllister was delighted for Bartley along with the crew of Rob Williams and brothers Richard and Peter Chambers.

The Team GB crew were pipped in a thrilling race won by South Africa., with Denmark taking bronze.

After the race, Bartley's father said: "We have been to so many heads of rivers in the middle of winter walking up and down muddy river banks and then you come to something like this and it's absolutely the icing on the cake. Superb."

The rower's mother Sue said her son had given her the bouquet of flowers he received on the medal podium.

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She added: "When he first started rowing, because he's quite small he was asked by one of the coaches at the school, 'Would you like to be a cox?'

"And he said, 'If I'm a cox I'm not doing it'. And now look at him."

Bartley has been rowing for half his life, having taken up the sport as a schoolboy just over the English border from his home town at King's School in Chester.

Stephen Levitt, a rowing coach at the school, said they were proud to have helped train Bartley and fellow Olympian Tom James, who won a gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

He said they had inspired the pupils at the school.

"You can see an increase of athletes coming through, which is brilliant," he said.

"And it is a spur-on. Because you can see that they're not the biggest guys. You know, Chris is a lightweight, he's not big.

"But if you're determined enough you can get the result you want."

King's School rowing coach Stephen Levitt said the school was proud to have helped Olympic rowers Chris Bartley and Tom James

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