Rower’s medal hopes sink as boat’s stolen

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Uk&world Update - By STEPHEN BRIGGS

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.

Pic­ture: PAUL FRANKS

HIGH AND DRY: Ian Palmer at Peter­bor­ough Row­ing Club, from where his £4,000 row­ing boat was stolen. (METP-15-06-10PF513)

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