Whittlesey rower says he could retire happy after claiming elusive Henley glory

Ian Palmer.

Ian Palmer. - Credit: Archant

A WHITTLESEY rower fulfilled a lifetime ambition when he put years of agonising near misses behind him and finally claimed glory at Henley on Saturday.

Left: Ian Palmer, Steven Cranfield,

Left: Ian Palmer, Steven Cranfield, - Credit: Archant

Ian Palmer, 44, has won more than 180 races, including seven national championships, during his illustrious career but a win at Henley, one of rowing’s most iconic venues, had eluded him.

But this changed when, in the space of a glorious couple of hours, he triumphed twice at the Henley Masters Regatta.

He won the doubles with Steven Cranfield and came out on top in the quads race.

He said: “I’ve won a lot in my career but I told Steven (Cranfield) afterwards that if I never raced again, I would retire satisfied because I now have nothing else to achieve.

“I’ve raced at Henley so many times and reached five finals but lost all of them.

“I don’t show a lot of emotion but it was one of the best days of my life.”

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Peterborough City Rowing Club competitor took up the sport as a 15 year old and has trained seriously for the past 20 years.

He balances his day job as a train driver with a gruelling training schedule.

He said: “I train three hours a day during the week and 4.5 hours a day over the weekend.

“It is the bane of my wife Debbie’s life but she is such an understanding person.”

Palmer, who picked up two gold medals at the British Rowing Masters earlier this year, has a couple of weeks rest lined up but will then return to full training.

He said: “I’ll take a couple of weeks off but serious training starts again after that.

“My next race is in September and I will be looking to defend my British Masters titles next year.”

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