Another successful day in Tokyo, as Fintan McCarthy and Paul O’Donovan claimed Gold in the Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls A Final, the first gold medal for Irish Rowing in history.
The Lightweight Men’s Double of Fintan McCarthy and Paul O’Donovan became Olympic Champions by winning the final with a time of 6:06.43. In a thrilling race, the Skibbereen crew were sitting in second place for much of the race, with Germany going out fast and dominating the first half of the race. A push from the Irish double with 700m to go left no doubt about their class, when they edged their boat to the front, and took the win by 0.86 seconds on the line. The medal marks the 7th gold ever taken by Ireland at an Olympic Games, and Paul now has the title of double Olympic Medalist, after his Silver in Rio in 2016.
Speaking after the race, O’Donovan said: “The Germans and Italians always have a quick start, so for the first time we had a quick start as well, not for lack of effort. It was a bit of a surprise that it paid off and we weren’t totally dropped in the first 500m, so that was good. And then we put the heads down and ploughed on so it was good.”
McCarthy added: “It feels pretty good. We can’t complain! We had a really good race, but a tough one. The Germans were flying so it was hard. I was really excited when we first crossed the line and there was a bit of relief as well. We have had a good time all week, so we are a bit sad that it is all over. We hadn’t had too much time to think about it but it feels pretty good and hopefully it will be that way for a while.”
In the semifinal of the women’s single sculls Sanita Puspure faced Hanna Prakatsen, the new Russian find, who had beaten Ireland double world champion into bronze at the Lucerne round of the World Cup in May. But it was Switzerland’s Jeannine Gmelin who set the early pace with the Netherlands’ Sophie Souwer, with Puspure back in fifth. Sanita will now race on Friday morning at 01:05.
In the Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls, the Irish crew performed outstandingly to finish second in their B Final with a time of 6:49.90, resulting in an eighth overall final standing, pushing winners of the B Final, Switzerland to the line, crossing the line just 0.74 seconds after them. Aoife Casey and Margaret Cremen qualified for the Tokyo Olympics in May, and throughout the Olympic Regatta have produced top class performances, which bodes well for the Paris Olympic cycle.
The Women’s Pair of Monika Dukarska and Aileen Crowley finished fifth in their B Final with 7:02.22, in what was an extremely competitive field, resulting in an 11th place finish overall. They started strong, putting themselves right in the mix, in a grueling battle with Romania and USA which ensued for the remainder of the race. The Killorglin Pair are part of the emerging strong squad of female rowers in Ireland from which the Olympic Bronze Medal winning crew was selected.
- Lightweight Men’s Double – Fintan McCarthy & Paul O’Donovan – 1st – GOLD MEDAL – 06:06.43
- Women’s Four (W4-) – Aifric Keogh, Eimear Lambe, Emily Hegarty & Fiona Murtagh – 3RD – BRONZE MEDAL – 06:20.46
- Women’s Single Sculls (W1x) – Sanita Puspure – 5th – 07:34.40.
- Men’s Double Sculls (M2x) – Ronan Byrne & Philip Doyle – 4th – 06:16.89 – 10th Overall
- Women’s Pair (W2-) Monika Dukarska & Aileen Crowley – 5th – 07:02.22 – 11th Overall
- Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls (LW2x) – Margaret Cremen & Aoife Casey – 2nd – 06:49.90
Next Irish Races
Friday 30th (IST)
- Women’s Single Sculls (W1x) – Sanita Puspure – 01:05
Full coverage of the Olympic Games will be available live on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player from 1:30am each night. Rowing highlights will also feature on RTÉ2 at 9am and 7pm.
Extensive results will be covered on Rowing Ireland’s website and social channels throughout the week.