Rower’s medal hopes sink as boat’s stolen
A TOP city rower had his hopes of gold dashed after his top-of-the-range boat was stolen on the eve of the national championships.
Ian Palmer (47) had hoped to claim two more gold medals to add to his growing collection at the National Masters in Nottingham on Sunday, June 13.
But after packing his £4,000 Olympic standard boat, named after his wife Debbie, onto the Peterborough Rowing Club trailer on Saturday morning thieves struck stealing the boat and its oars.
Mr Palmer, of Willow Close, Whittlesey, a junior coach who trains six days a week, said he could not believe it when he arrived at the championships.
He said: “When I got there I saw my boat was missing from the trailer. The guy pulling the trailer said he thought I had it on my roof rack.
“We phoned up the club in Peterborough to see if it had been accidentally taken off and people were looking all over for it.
“I had beaten all my competitors by a big margin the week before, so I was confident of winning. I have won three gold and three silver medals in the last four years, but was unable to compete in the right boat this year.
“I had to borrow a boat that was far too big for me – I was like a small boy on the QE2.
“I finished third in the Over 27s Class, but you don’t get a bronze in that class, and seventh in the Over 36s class. I feel like I have had two medals stolen from me as well as my boat.
“It is a year’s work that has gone down the drain. The boat was specially made for an Olympic athlete. It is really like buying a Ferrari in rowing terms.”
In an attempt to recover the boat, Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire Police have examined CCTV footage taken around the boat house but have had no luck in tracing the culprit. Ian and his wife are now contacting hundreds of rowing clubs across the country to try to find out if the boat has been offered for sale. Mrs Palmer said: “Ian is gutted and even though I am often a rowing widow, I really want to help find the boat for him.”
The boat is 25ft long and white with “Debbie Michelle” written on the side in blue letters.
Anyone with information should contact police on 0345 4564564 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
HIGH AND DRY: Ian Palmer at Peterborough Rowing Club, from where his £4,000 rowing boat was stolen. (METP-15-06-10PF513)