Richard Chambers criticises lightweight four axing for Tokyo 2020

Peter and Richard Chambers also competed together in the lightweight men's double sculls
Peter and Richard Chambers also competed together in the lightweight men's double sculls

Olympic silver medallist Richard Chambers has slammed the decision to remove the men's lightweight four from the Tokyo 2020 rowing programme.

The Coleraine man competed for GB in the lightweight four before quitting the sport last September.

He said: "I'm proud to have played a part in some of history's best races. FISA you have made the wrong decision."

The Olympic hopes of Chambers' younger brother Peter and Joel Cassells have been dealt a blow with the decision.

It means the only lightweight boat class will be the double sculls with only two places available in the Great Britain squad.

The FISA delegates, made up of representatives nominated by national rowing federations, were presented with two proposals at an extraordinary congress in Tokyo, that would create a gender equal programme at the Olympic Games.

Replaced by women's four

The proposal, put forward by the FISA Council, would see the lightweight men's four dropped from the Olympic programme to be replaced by the women's four.

This attracted 94 votes, as opposed to the 67 votes cast in favour of an alternative proposal that would have seen the openweight men's four replaced by a lightweight women's four.

FISA, rowing's world governing body, will now recommend 14 boat classes to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for the Tokyo Olympic Programme, which will deliver gender equity.

Peter Chambers, 26, won a silver medal at London 2012 alongside brother Richard in the lightweight four and in last summer's Games in Rio he was part of the quartet that finished seventh.

On Saturday he won the lightweight men's single scull 5km time-trial at the GB Rowing Team third winter assessment.

Fellow Coleraine rower Cassells, 22, is a former World and double European champion in the non-Olympic class men's lightweight pair and narrowly missed out on selection for Rio. He was sixth behind Chambers at the weekend.

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