Rowing kicked off the 2020 Tokyo Olympics this morning. Two Irish crews competed in their heats at the Sea Forest Waterway. Sanita Pušpure raced in the Women’s Single Sculls and Ronan Byrne and Phil Doyle raced in the Men’s Double Sculls.

As it turned out, Pušpure made light of the blistering conditions on the Sea Forest Waterway, where temperatures reached 31 degrees Celcius, and moved into the lead of the six-boat heat after just 300m. The fast starting Mexican sculler, Kenia Lechuga, hung on grimly, despite being repeatedly challenged by Greece’s Anneta Kyridou, while Uganda, Singapore and Trinidad and Tobago were well off the race pace.

Sanita finished eight seconds ahead of the field. Pušpure, Lechuga and Kyridou qualified direct for Monday’s quarter-finals, while the other three scullers will have another chance in Saturday’s repechages.

Ronan Byrne and Philip Doyle had a tough race in their opening heat of the men’s double sculls. The silver medallists from the 2019 world championships got off to a sluggish start, while New Zealand’s Jack Lopas and Christopher Harris set the early pace and went half a length up on the field after 500m, with Ireland fourth.

A fast second quarter saw Poland’s Miroslaw Zietarski and Mateusz Biskup take the lead at halfway where Byrne and Doyle moved briefly into third, but Ireland’s double could not sustain the pressure. In a burst for the line, Byrne and Doyle upped the rate to 45, but ran out of water as Poland crossed the line in first place to qualify with Switzerland and the Netherlands, with Ireland relegated to Saturday’s repechage at 1:40am.

Irish Results


  • Women’s Single Sculls (W1x) –  Sanita Pušpure – 1st – 07:46.08
  • Men’s Double Sculls (M2x) – Ronan Byrne & Philip Doyle – 4th – 06:14.40

Saturday 24th Racing (IST)


  • Men’s Double Sculls (M2x) – Ronan Byrne & Philip Doyle – 01:40


  • Women’s Pair (W2-)  Monika Dukarska & Aileen Crowley – 02:10 
  • Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls (LW2x) – Margaret Cremen & Aoife Casey – 02:50
  • Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls (LM2x) – Fintan McCarthy & Paul O’Donovan – 03:30
  • Women’s Four (W4-) – Aifric Keogh, Eimear Lambe, Emily Hegarty & Fiona Murtagh – 04:00

Monday’s Racing (IST)


  • Women’s Single Sculls (W1x) –  Sanita Pušpure – 01:00 – 01:30 (Time to be confirmed)

Olympic Coverage

Full coverage of the Olympic Games will be available live on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player from 1:30 am each night. Rowing highlights will also feature on RTÉ2 at 9 am and 7 pm. 

Extensive results will be covered on Rowing Ireland’s website and social channels throughout the week.

Irish Team

Lightweight Men’s Double Scull (LM2x)

  • Fintan McCarthy (Skibbereen Rowing Club)
  • Paul O’Donovan (UCC Rowing Club)
  • Gary O’Donovan (Skibbereen Rowing Club) – Reserve

Women’s Single (W1x)

  • Sanita Pušpure (Old Collegians Boat Club)

Men’s Double Scull (M2x)

  • Ronan Byrne (UCC Rowing Club)
  • Philip Doyle (Belfast Boat Club)
  • Daire Lynch (Clonmel Rowing Club) – Reserve

Women’s Four (W4-)

  • Emily Hegarty (UCC Rowing Club)
  • Fiona Murtagh (National University of Ireland Boat Club)
  • Eimear Lambe (Old Collegians Boat Club)
  • Aifric Keogh (UCC Rowing Club)
  • Tara Hanlon (UCC Rowing Club) – Reserve

Women’s Pair (W2-)

  • Monika Dukarska (Killorglin Rowing Club)
  • Aileen Crowley (Old Collegians Boat Club)

Lightweight Women’s Double Scull (LW2x)

  • Aoife Casey (UCC Rowing Club)
  • Margaret Cremen (UCC Rowing Club)
  • Lydia Heaphy (UCC Rowing Club) – Reserve

Staff Team

  • Antonio Maurogiovanni – High-Performance Director
  • Fran Keane (Athlone Boat Club/Pres Rowing Club) – Coach
  • Dominic Casey (Skibbereen Rowing Club) – Coach
  • Giuseppe DeVita (UCD Boat Club)- Coach
  • Ciro Prisco (NUIG Boat Club)- Coach
  • Sinead Murphy – Physiotherapist
  • Feargal O’Callaghan (Shannon Rowing Club)- Team Manager

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